A result that will send shockwaves throughout the rest of the tournament. Who saw that coming? No one. Well, Louis van Gaal probably did. But no one else. I can't believe what we've just seen. The world champions have been battered beyond all recognition by a Holland team that not many people were willing to back tonight. Can Spain recover from this? The psychological damage will be huge. This World Cup has just caught fire.
Story of the match:. 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 World Cup final. The last time they conceded five goals in an international match was in 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. It was their first meeting with Spain since the showpiece four years ago in South Africa and the first time the previous finalists had met in the opening round of matches at the next World Cup. Ear-splitting noise reverberated around one of Brazil's most impressive stadiums as the teams emerged before kick-off. The Dutch fans have travelled in far smaller numbers than usual - a reflection of their pre-competition hopes - but there were still pockets of orange mixed in with the red of Spain, yellow of Brazil and the colours of various other teams, fitting in this melting pot of a city.
GOAL!!!!!!!!!! Spain 1-5 Holland (Robben, 80 min)
Redemption for Arjen Robben and Holland arrived in the form of an emphatic reversal of fortunes from the final and a much better game of football. As the new Manchester United manager had said they would. Robben and Holland looked pleased enough just to be winning when the former struck to put them in the lead for the first time, but by the end of the game, with Iker Casillas making a second mistake in misjudging a back pass and presenting Van Persie with a second goal for a scoreline of , the Dutch looked conspicuously like dangerous tournament underdogs and all talk of Spain being among the favourites looked plain silly. Yes, Spain opened with a defeat in South Africa four years ago and went on to win the competition, but this was a rout. And Diego Costa had the unhappiest of competition debuts, mitigated only by the misery Casillas must have been feeling. With the match won at , Robben outsprinted the Dutch defence from the halfway line, sent Casillas crawling the wrong way twice, and joined Van Persie on two goals for the night. He may now regret saying a qualifying game could never be compared to a World Cup final, because this was an occasion for everyone in orange to savour. Robben spoke before the game of the still-vivid memory of Casillas denying him the chance to give Holland a potentially winning lead in the World Cup final of four years ago, describing it as a snapshot he will never forget but one which now belongs to the past tense. He gave Wesley Sneijder a chance to help make amends after just nine minutes, threading a perfect pass through the square Spain defence, and memories must have come flooding back as the Galatasaray midfielder lined up a shot with all the time in the world but still hit it too close to the goalkeeper. Casillas stood his ground well and made a decent save, though the goalkeeper hardly moved except to fling out an arm and Sneijder will know he should have done better.
This group contained the finalists of the previous World Cup in : Spain reigning champion and the Netherlands runners-up. Play began on 13 June and ended on 23 June The Netherlands and Chile progressed to the knockout stage, while Australia and Spain were eliminated after suffering two defeats in their opening two matches. Chile was eliminated by Brazil in the second round after penalties, while the Netherlands made their way to the semi-finals in which they lost to Argentina on penalties. The third place match was won by the Netherlands with a convincing 3—0 victory against Brazil.