Leaving the whole world in utter disbelief, Group B’s opening game saw Spain’s successful reign come to an unexpected end with a humiliating 5-1 loss against Holland.
The four year long wait for a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final saw the Dutch side come back in an unforgettable match for both sides, but with varying reasons as to why.
It is the biggest defeat any defending champion of a World Cup has ever suffered.
What makes it most unbelievably insulting is that the Spanish side actually finished the first half with a positive and were looing forward to the second. The first 45 minutes saw Spain – as expected – hold an impressive amount of possession with Xabi Alonso scoring a dubious penalty and had David Silva’s effort hit the back of the net and made it 2-0, it would have been game over.
Instead, moments later, Robin van Persie equalised with a header right over Iker Casillas’ head. The next 45 minutes sealed La Roja’s fate. Four more goals came crashing in the back of Casillas’ net, with Casillas and the rest of Spain’s team looking absolutely unrecognisable when it came to their supposed standards.
The Spanish captain lost all control and freely let in two goals from Robin van Persie, two goals from Arjen Robben and one from Stefan De Vrij, with Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique running around trying to pick up the pieces – and not doing very well at it.
Casillas was not Casillas. Ramos was not Ramos. Jordi Alba didn’t close down well, Pique was slow and left gaps in behind and nobody could stop Robben. None of Spanish players were themselves and the humiliation of the debut match defeat will echo on for the rest of the group games.
The much awaited debut of Diego Costa wasn’t even able to do it for Spain, with the forward neither scoring nor improving their play and despite winning a dubious penalty, Costa looked out of place in the side. Although, at least he looked better than Fernando Torres, who came on and well, looked just like Fernando Torres.
Admittedly, the Netherlands were worthy winners, with impressive speed and a thirst for goals that Van Persie and Robben thrived on, but, Spain shouldn’t be ruled out just yet. Yes, Holland could have potentially scored more goals, yes Casillas made a few mistakes, but, no, the blame does not lie solely on the Spanish goalkeeper (despite his disaster of a game), it is the whole of Vicente Del Bosque’s squad that lost.
La Roja were without any vigour, any speed, with no enthusiasm and no desire to correct their mistakes. Absolutely abysmal. Van Gaal’s men walked away heroes, with the Dutch coach rightly proud of his men.
Despite the harsh critics claiming that the Spanish reign has well and truly ended, that Spain should call it quits and potentially change their leading goalie, Spain also lost their first game to Switzerland in the last World Cup, which gives the beleaguered squad some much needed hope for the rest of the group matches.
Spain were once a team that didn’t live up to their potential; now they have been reigning champions of the Euros and the World Cup for six years. With the same team, they should be able to pull back and snap back into action to play like the champions that they are.
Time will tell if La Roja have lost their strength or if it was well and truly a match from hell. Running on faith, it is possible that Vicente Del Bosque’s men can win the rest of the games and possible that the Dutch lose out to Chile.
However, with the current situation, La Furia Roja may go on to face Brazil in their next round which whilst an amazing prospect for the neutrals, is not something the Spanish fans would wish to see.
Spain face Chile on Wednesday, who won their game against Australia, in the next round of group games. It’s time for Spanish aficionados around the world to put on their Spanish shirts again, with pride, and pray to see a true match with the players that we all know and love. Vamos!
Can Spain pull it back or have the doubts really set in after such a huge defeat? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.