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Netherlands Gains Revenge Over Spain in World Cup Action

  • VOA  Sports

Spain's Andres Iniesta tries to reach the ball against Netherlands' Daryl Janmaat during the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and the Netherlands at the Arena Ponte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, June 13, 2014.

Spain's Andres Iniesta tries to reach the ball against Netherlands' Daryl Janmaat during the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and the Netherlands at the Arena Ponte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, June 13, 2014.

The Netherlands earned revenge over Spain in an emphatic way, crushing the defending champions and world's top-ranked team, 5-1, in World Cup action Friday.

The Group B game was a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final, when Spain beat the Dutch, 1-0.

The Netherlands, ranked 15th in the world, exploded for four second-half goals Friday to break open a 1-1 halftime tie at Arena Fonte Nova in Brazil's eastern city of Salvador.

Dutchmen Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie each scored twice, with Robben's goal in the 53rd minute putting the Netherlands ahead for good. Stefan de Vrij tallied the other Dutch goal in a game dominated by his squad.

Spain took a 1-0 first-half lead when Xabi Alonso converted a 27th-minute penalty. Dutchman Stefan de Vrij had brought down Diego Costa in the box, and Alonso stroked the ball past goalie Jasper Cillessen.

The Netherlands tied it just before halftime on Van Persie's sensational diving header. He rose to meet a long searching pass by teammate Daley Blind. Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, left, dives to make a save during the group A World Cup soccer match between Mexico and Cameroon in the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, June 13, 2014.

Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, left, dives to make a save during the group A World Cup soccer match between Mexico and Cameroon in the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, June 13, 2014.

The first full day of matches in the world's premier sporting event began with Mexico's 1-0 win over Cameroon.

Oribe Peralta's second-half goal accounted for the only score. Peralta converted uncontested from close range in the 61st minute after Cameroon's goalie Charles Itandje deflected a shot by Mexico's Giovani Dos Santos.

The Group A match was played in a steady downpour at the Arena das Dunas in Brazil's northeastern city of Natal. In the first half, two potential goals by Dos Santos were disallowed because of questionable offside decisions.

The calls came a day after a referee made a controversial ruling that put Brazil in position to convert a penalty kick in its 3-1 win over Croatia, the opening match of the World Cup.

Mexico is now tied with Brazil at the top of Group A with three points apiece. Mexico, the 20th-ranked team in the world according to World Cup organizer FIFA, upset Brazil to win the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Chile meets Australia in another Group B battle in Cuiaba. Chile is 14th in the world, while Australia is not ranked.

Brazil is seeking a record sixth World Cup title and its first since 2002. The Brazilians are ranked third in the world, behind Spain at No. 1 and Germany in the second spot.

Other teams expected to challenge for this year's trophy include Argentina - Brazil's neighbor and fierce rival - along with European giants Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal.
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