Print options

June 13, 2014

Netherlands Gains Revenge Over Spain in World Cup Action

by Mike Richman

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

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 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.

Watch related video:
  ​​
Mexico Beats Cameroon

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.

Mexico's coach, Miguel Herrera, said he told his squad at halftime to remain focused despite the questionable calls.

"Human error exists," Herrera said. "We have to learn to put up with whatever comes our way.  We didn't think about the referee when we went back to dressing room (at half-time).

"Concentration is essential and the lads did well to keep their composure."

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.

Cameroon's coach, Volker Finke, said his team's upcoming game against Croatia will be critical.

"We had a few chances to score and didn't," Finke said. "They had goals ruled out, but that's the way it is. Now we've got five days before our next match, which will already be decisive for our World Cup."

Chile Tops Australia

Alexis Sanchez helped Chile pile the pressure on world champions Spain with a 3-1 win over Australia in their World Cup opener in Cuiaba. Chile is 14th in the world, while Australia is not ranked.

Sanchez set Chile on its way early on, the Barcelona star turning provider 70 seconds later to set up Jorge Valdivia.

Following Spain's 5-1 rout by the Dutch earlier in Salvador, the reigning champions almost certainly must defeat Chile in Rio on June 18 to avoid an early exit.

Brazil, Mexico Lead Group A

Mexico, the 20th ranked team in the world, is now tied with Brazil at the top of Group A with three points apiece.  The Mexicans upset Brazil to win the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Chile meets Australia in another Group B battle Friday 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.

The World Cup is played in two stages.  The first lasts two weeks, with four teams in each of eight groups playing games against one another. The top two teams in each group then move on to a single-elimination bracket, with a champion being crowned on July 13.