FRIDAY RESULTS – WORLD CUP
Mexico 1-0 CameroonSpain 1-5 Netherlands Chile 3-1 Australia
Some results resonate forever in World Cup folklore. Cameroon’s 1990 upset of Argentina is one that continues to be discussed, debated and dissected as if the game was played the day before yesterday.
Netherlands’ obliteration of holders Spain in Salvador is one that has in all probability etched itself into the distinguished category of results that will be spoken about decades on end. This was not a whitewash, to say that would somewhat be doing an injustice to the Orange’s majesty. It was more.
Spain were torn to shreds and left disheveled, broken and flummoxed. As was the case in 2010, La Furia Roja started the World Cup with defeat. But the similarities end there.Four years ago, Switzerland rode their luck in their upset victory of the favourites. On Friday, Spain were lucky not to concede more than half a dozen.
The irony is that Spain took the lead through a controversial penalty after Diego Costa, booed by neutrals for opting to represent Vicente Del Bosque’s side ahead of his country of birth, was adjudged to have been fouled by Stefan de Vrij. Replays suggested it was another harsh decision, a day after Brazil’s hugely controversial penalty against Croatia.
Up stepped Xabi Alonso who made no mistake. David Silva then had the chance to make it to 2-0 but his audacious chip was snuffed.
Save for a Wesley Sneijder shot that drew a smart save out of Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas in the opening exchanges, the Netherlands hadn’t acquired a grip on the game.
Then a moment of ingenuity from Robin Van Persie changed the tide of the match, setting a most unanticipated massacre in motion.
Daley Blind’s crossfield floater was a pass was met by the most extraordinary header you will see somehow Van Persie got his angles and balance right to power home the ball over a stranded Casillas.
That goal will take some beating for goal of the tournament. Its timing was doubly crucial it came barely a minute after Silva wasted the opportunity to extend Spain’s lead, and likewise with a minute to halftime.The goal deflated Spain and reinvigorated the Dutch.
What had been widely tipped as the World Cup’s most eagerly anticipated match of the first round – a repeat of the 2010 final – became a blowout in the second half. Another Blind cross-field pass was taken down superbly by Arjen Robben, villain of the last World Cup final, who turned Gerard Pique before firing Netherlands to a 2-1 lead.
WoodworkVan Persie then crashed an effort on the woodwork before De Vrij forced home the ball from a Sneijder free-kick with Casillas, the culpable party, claiming he was impeded by Van Persie.The fourth goal is one that will surely hasten Casillas’ international retirement. Under no pressure, he fumbled a routine backpass from Sergio Ramos allowing the livewire Van Persie to dispossess him and draw fourth dagger in the bewildered world champions.
The fifth strike, Robben’s second, was a glorious solo effort that leaves Spain in horror. Their game at the Maracana on Wednesday against Chile, 3-1 winners over Australia, is now of heightened significance no one would have predicted when the draw was made last year.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor