by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 13th 2014)
European and world champions Spain were thrashed and humiliated by the Netherlands – a defeat that may signal the end of Spanish domination. Despite taking the lead after 27 minutes, Spain conceded five without reply afterwards. Brasilian-born Diego Costa, whose every touch was loudly booed, won the penalty by ensuring contact was made before falling theatrically. Xabi Alonso converted the spot-kick.
Shortly after David Silvaʼs lob was saved by Ajaxʼs goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, the tide turned thanks to a superb diving header by Robin van Persie, which looped over a stranded Iker Casillas. Buoyed by the equaliser Louis van Gaalʼs team tore the defending world champions apart in a second half that was as scintillating for the Dutch as it was wretched for Spain. Vicente del Bosque reacted tetchily to pre-match questions of whether Spainish dominance was at an end.
A fantastic performance on the left by former Dutch legend Danny Blindʼs son Daley included an excellent cross-field assist to Arjen Robben, whose control embarrassed both Gerard Piqué and Sergio Ramos before shooting past Casillas, who could feel hard done by over the third. Coming for a corner van Persie impeded Casillas before Stefan de Vrij bundled the ball over the line from a tight angle.
Casillas was booked for his protests. This and indeed the Spanish penalty were decisions that would benefit from the review system suggested by FIFA President Sepp Blatter. If Casillas had cause for complaint over the third, the fourth was entirely his fault. A terrible first touch was intercepted by van Persie who rounded a forlorn Casillas for an easy goal – one that Casillas will have nightmares over.
Robben completed the miserable night for Spain with another excellent goal. Wesley Sneijderʼs pass found Robben who outpaced Ramos and took it past Casillas before slotting it in the for the fifth. The manner of this defeat will test Spain fully. Their football was dismantled – perhaps ending an era begun by the late Luís Aragonés. Del Bosque has his hands full to recover from this humiliation quickly. Their next match is against Chile, a team that came to Wembley and beat England 2-0. They will test Spainʼs character.