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Shocking result

Rashneel Kumar
Sunday, June 15, 2014

HUMBLED, hammered and humiliated.

There is no better way the commentator could have described the 'Dutch massacre' yesterday morning at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Spain's 5-1 trouncing at the hands of Netherlands must have sent shockwaves in the football fraternity.

No one would have dreamt of this result. I bet not even the biggest Netherlands fan. Even Dutch mentor Louis van Gaal didn't expect this huge win.

The Spain versus Netherlands match was billed as the exciting clash of day two given it was the repeat of the 2010 World Cup final.

It was Spain that had the last laugh four years ago when Andres Iniesta scored the winner in the second spell of extra time in South Africa.

I was lucky to catch a glimpse of the 2010 thriller on Friday night as ESPN recapped on the crunch match as a preview to the Group B encounter in Salvador.

Four years ago, Netherlands looked rusty in discipline and outnumbered Spain in card count.

The Spanish held on to win its first-ever World Cup which later became the catalyst of their rise in football.

So vengeance must have been on the minds of the players as it was in many of the Holland fans in Fiji.

Many fans believed Netherlands should have hoisted the trophy for the first time that year after coming close a couple of times before.

It wasn't the case and thanks to Iniesta's strike, Spain landed the ultimatum title in the sport.

In Brazil, the reigning world champions looked calm and asserted its dominance early in the match with their infamous tiki taka style.

The controversial penalty midway in the opening spell handed the giants a 1-0 lead and that's when I started losing interest and the fight against gravity.

When I was about to 'knockout', skipper Robin Van Persie, the newly anointed Flying Dutchman, did the magic.

That stunning diving header, my word, is one of the best goals I have seen in my 15 or so years of football experience.

Game on.

That's when I decided to wake my buddies who had a late night 'sesh' with the sensational Makare at a local watering hole.

They didn't seem to bother so I braced myself for another exciting half and couldn't believe my eyes.

Netherlands made Spain look like an amateurs after slotting in four more goals to secure the historic 5-1 win.

Arjen Robben scored in the early second spell followed by Van Persie's second before Stefan De Vrij made it four and Robben ended the rout 5-1.

So what happened to Spain? Even coach Vicente Del Bosque couldn't find words to describe the demolition.

Yesterday, seven of the Spain players who featured in the 2010 World Cup made the starting line-up while Netherlands had only four.

Age factor? Most likely.

Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas is 33 and most of its stars are in their late 20s or early 30s.

Their tiki taka football style is fast and needs players at the peak of their fitness. When age is catching up you don't expect them to demonstrate the same robustness they did four years ago.

Casillas made two fumbles, one with Van Persie and the other with the evergreen Robben. He was punished both times.

Or Spain lack the lethal finishers.

In the Spanish La Liga, the top clubs rely heavily on foreign players in their forwards, in particular the finishers and that reflected in the game against Netherlands.

Spain managed to create chances but lacked the finishing touches to get the vital goals.

Will the team last the World Cup? Tough chance.

Spain is likely to finish runner-up in Group B and Brazil expected to finish on top in Group A. And if that's the case, the two will be meeting in the top 16 playoffs.

You be the judge.

Meanwhile in the other matches, Chile beat Australia 3-1, leaving Spain at the bottom of Group B while in Group A fixture, Mexico edged Cameroon 1-0 to take second spot behind Brazil.

Fixtures (Today) - 4am Colombia-Greece, 7am Uruguay-Costa Rica, 10am England-Italy, 1pm Ivory Coast-Japan

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