Former Real Madrid forward Arjen Robben scored twice as the Netherlands crushed world champions Spain 5-1 in Salvador.
Robin van Persie cancelled out a penalty from Real’s Xabi Alonso on 44 minutes, before two from Robben, another from Van Persie and Stefan de Vrij completed an emphatic second-half performance from the Dutch.
It was perfect revenge for Louis van Gaal’s men after their agonising defeat in the final four years ago.
Wesley Sneijder played in that game and is another former Galactico who will have enjoyed victory over some of his old teammates. He very nearly opened the scoring in the eighth minute, as he latched on to Robben’s through ball but fired straight at Iker Casillas.
Spain began to dictate the play and sure enough, they took the lead on 27 minutes. De Vrij brought down Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa in the box and Alonso cooly converted from the spot.
This seemed to be just normal service for the world champions, and they fashioned another opening shortly afterwards with Jasper Cillessen brilliantly denying David Silva’s lobbed effort.
But the Dutch hadn’t read the script and equalised out of nowhere moments later when Van Persie raced on to Daley Blind’s long ball and looped his header magnificently over the despairing Casillas.
Into the second half and the three-time finalists stunned Arena Fonte Nova. Another long ball from Blind found Robben, who controlled the it delightfully and moved away from Gerard Pique before smashing home.
Vicente del Bosque’s men started to get a bit restless and Costa was very fortunate to stay on the pitch after he moved his head into the face of Bruno Martins Indi. Referee Nicola Rizzoli didn’t take any action as he clearly didn’t see the incident.
The Netherlands had a decision go in their favour soon after, though, as they moved further ahead when De Vrij scrambled home Sneijder’s free-kick. In the build-up, Van Persie was clearly blocking the path of Casillas – costing the Spanish skipper a yellow card as a result of his protests.
However, there was nothing controversial on 72 minutes, as a rare error from the Real stopper was pounced upon by the Manchester United striker who stole the ball and poked home number four.
The Spanish misery was completed with 10 minutes remaining when a speedy Robben raced away from a tired Pique and rounded Casillas before smashing the ball home.
Total football from the Dutch, but could this be the end of the world champions’ reign?
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