The other day I was chatting with my friends in a group and was surprised none of the 20 odd group members picked Spain to win again. Seems like the fans and audience didn’t expect Spain to defend the title…but it was shocking even for the worst critics of Spain. The defending champions losing 5-1 to Holland will go down as one of their worst matches in World Cup history.
The 2010 final was avenged and how! Van Persie’s first goal and Arjen Robben’s second proved to be more entertaining than the Johannesburg goals. The fact that Louis Van Gaal’s team had shown such character to bounce back from a goal down speaks volumes of this team’s spirit.
Spain played some good football at times but most of the 90+ minutes they didn’t look like the World No. 1 team. The Spanish supporters can still say that even in 2010 Spain started with a defeat but that was not a rout. This was humiliating and embarrassing for the World Champions – more like a slap on the face of Del Bosque, Casillas and the rest. The final goal scored by Robben running from half way line with the ball dodging Casillas twice before netting the ball.
Diego Costa didn’t have a good outing as well and he floundered the chances given to him by the Iniesta and Silva combine. The referee’s decision was again below par and he couldn’t see that Costa had hooked his foot intentionally with that of the defender. But that was almost the last time Spain would look good on the field.
Rain marred second half, which is quite common for the locals here as it is indeed the monsoon season, saw both European sides not used to this kind of pitch let go a couple of chances – one of them where Iniesta would have definitely scored if the conditions were dry.
Robben ran through the Spanish defense and surely was unstoppable. Spain tried counter attack and Del Bosque had Costa replaced by Torres which brought loud cheers from the crowd as Brazil don’t rate him high considering he chose to play for Spain instead of his birth country Brazil. Torres couldn’t do much except appreciate Sneijder’s cross which embarrassed Casillas for the nth time in the match.
The 5 gaols from the Dutch gave Spain their worst defeat since 1963. This defeat was more than just a game. None watching the game would have predicted this result given that at half time Spain were cruising with one goal up. An innings and 100 + runs defeat in a test match, a 6-0, 6-1 defeat in a Grand Slam and such a capitulation at the greatest stage are tough to recover from. But I am sure none would want to write off the Champions. The tough get going when the going gets tough and to reclaim their respect after this humbling defeat would be a top priority for the World Champions and if any thing this game just proved the reason why this World Cup finals is one of the most open tournaments. Though there are some favourites, none can be backed 100% to win the cup. Argentina’s loss to Cameroon in 1990 and France’s loss to Senegal shall be discussed in the same breath.
The final score of 5-1 to Spain could even have been 7 or 8 goals in Holland’s favour. The Spanish team have the talent but Del Bosque needs to take hard decisions if they intend to move forward in the tournament. All in all a World Cup Classic for the true football fan.
Sportzcosmos Player of the match – Arjen Robben