Netherlands Routs Spain 5-1

Netherlands produced a sensational second-half performance to annihilate reigning champions Spain in a stunned Arena Fonte Nova.

Spain lived up to their favourites tag by opening the scoring through a Xabi Alonso penalty, but Robin van Persie equalised with an incredible diving header just before half-time and Arjen Robben put Netherlands in front with a cool finish.

Stefan de Vrij forced in a third from Wesley Sneijder's free-kick, Van Persie dispossessed goalkeeper Iker Casillas to make it four and Robben's brilliant solo effort sealed the win.

Spain, looking to win a fourth consecutive major international trophy, were humbled and humiliated in the repeat of the 2010 World Cup final. The last time they conceded five goals in an international match was in 1963.

World Cup 2014: Robin Van Persie scores with superb header
Three-time runners-up Netherlands will suddenly find themselves talked about among the leading contenders to lift the title and it is not unrealistic if they maintain this level of display.

Van Persie said the emphatic win was down to the tactics of Van Gaal, his new manager at Manchester United.

"This is definitely down to him," added the 30-year-old.

Spain's experienced goalkeeper Iker Casillas says he was responsible for the reigning champions' disastrous defeat.

"I wasn't at the level I needed to be. I have to accept all criticism.

"I didn't do things like I should have, especially to start a World Cup," said Casillas, who was dispossessed by Van Persie for the fourth goal.

- BBC.com


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