Defending champions Spain kick off their defence of the World Cup against the Netherlands at the Arena Fonte Nova in what is a sequel to the 2010 final.
Spain haven’t had the most difficult friendlies to contend with on their way to the tournaments opener and had two successful victories over Bolivia and El Salvador. The number one ranker side on the planet made easy work of the qualification campaign with an unbeaten run through all eight fixtures delivering six wins and a goal difference of positive eleven. While they seem to be pushing forward, their 3-0 defeat in last year’s Confederation Cup final will still be sitting in the back of their minds. This golden generation of Spanish talent will be looking to emerge victorious at a fourth successive major tournament but a tricky group and a potential draw against Brazil could be lurking even if they go through. Their squad are getting older now and this may be the last time they play consistently together.
The Netherlands meanwhile, on the losing side of that 2010 World Cup final, will be looking for revenge. They have recently walked through friendlies with Wales and Ghana but made it very hard for themselves against Ecuador on 21st May. They are, however, a team that always managed to maintain a competitive edge in major tournaments. Finishing second on three separate occasions, including 2010, they will still be full of hope despite a tough group which also contains Chile and Australia. Louis Van Gaal may be off to pastures new but his second spell in charge could end with a bang. It is fair to say that his setback, when the Netherlands failed to qualify in 2002, didn’t manage to hurt his reputation too much. A strong personality and a direct approach have seen him get the absolute best out of Robin Van Persie, who he’ll interestingly manage next season, but with Arjen Robben the only 100% fit ‘superstar’ in their squad you can see Chile quickly breathing down their necks.
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5-1 and the head scratching begins. Not for us though because Chile are on next! Yay!
Martins Indi has been a wall for the Netherlands tonight.
There are so few games in World Cups and results like this can really alter the destiny of great teams. Suddenly Spain have two games left and a -4 goal difference.
Spectacular defending to prevent a second from Spain
That tackle from Blind really sums this game up… and Torres’ season
This will certainly make the late kick off more adventurous
Should have been six.
Wijnaldum and Robben bring the best out of Casillas. Could have been six. What a game!
The BBC planned for this
Bet those Spanish fans in the dresses which they’d bought a change of clothes.
That Brian Moore commentary is pretty iconic, I reckon it was a doff of the hat to Moore, Mark.
Cillessen’s save from David Silva was the turning point
Robben getting a little cocky there.
Whatever that is.
I had a draw on my coupon. I was expecting caginess but this is the opposite of cagey.
I wonder who predicted this…. oh wait, no-one
Emphatic from Robben. Tragic for Casillas.
This is like Spain of old when they turned up at tournaments highly fancied and ended up blowing it completely.
If that was a dive by Torres then it should clearly have been a yellow.
I was also about to say, just before the 4th goal ridiculous it was that two of the best teams in the World are playing and the crowd are doing a Mexican wave.
Here comes the magic spray!
Suddenly my earlier statistic doesn’t seem that out of place.
4-1 though. Fucking Hell.
Maybe that lack of matchplay is taking its toll on Casillas.
This result will certainly make the remaining group games more interesting.
Robin Van Persie makes it 4-1.
Iker Casillas makes an awful mistake and mistimes his control after a back-pass from Pique
I withdraw my previous remark.
Got a feeling Spain could storm back. Plenty of time left.
RvP with a ferocious strike which pings off Casillas.
Holland are deserving of this lead.
GOOD GRAVY! MORE DISALLOWED GOALS!
Silva has the ball in the back of the Dutch net but it’s rightly adjudged offside.
You’ve certainly seen free kicks given for van Persie’s challenge on the ‘keeper.
Certainly feel Iker had reason to complain
This is far superior to the final of 2010.
Casillas probably reckons van Persie fouled him.
Stephen de Vrij has made it three – one.
Freekick “floated” in by Robben is headed in at the back post. Casillas is complaining about a foul from Van Persie during the cross.
de Vrij finds the ball at the far past and it’s 3-1
That’s the end of the Brazilians night as Costa is replaced by Torres – Alonso has also switched with Pedro
Netherlands made their first change a few moments ago with De Guzman coming off for Wijnaldum
Brilliant from Robben who hooks up with Janmaat and the van Persie off the bar. This is a game.
Another great move from the Dutch. Robben bursts forward and the ball makes it’s way to Van Persie who drills a shot against the bar.
The Netherlands have found another gear here.
Not sure if Robben’s goal crossed the line. I need GLT confirmation.
Another reason against GLT
If you’re going to nut someone you should do it properly.
Just think, if they had an official behind the line instead of goal line technology, he’d have spotted that.
It’s a bit weak though but he’d have to be sent off if the referee had seen it
Diego Costa has been accursed by Indi of headbutting him… the replay shows there is contact with intent
That’ll make the remainder of this match interesting (not that it hasn’t been so far)
Two cracking diags from the Dutch, two goals.
And Arjen Robben makes it two for Netherlands. Another brilliant ball forward, followed by a great first touch.
He wriggled Pique there.
Robben with a typical cut inside. 2-1 Netherlands.
Iniesta checks out the wetness of the surface with a daisy cutter which Cillessen is equal to.
There is a decidedly moist feel about the opening rounds of the World Cup. We are back underway.
Yep. Nice paint job on that Manaus pitch. I wonder if they used applied an undercoat.
Cracking open the first beer of the evening and it’s Oranjeboom which readers of a certain age will recall is a lager and not a tune.
Yep, Cillessen’s save was as good as an assist. Pleased about that equaliser. Sets up a tasty second half.
And we go in 1-1 at half time
That save from Cillessen – which we didn’t mention – looks even more important now.
After spending all half making the runs, van Persie is finally rewarded with the right pass and we are blessed with a spectacular header.
Contender for goal of the tournament that!
Robin Van Persie levels it up with what could be the best heading technique I’ve ever seen.
How did Iniesta see that?
Azpilicueta has been a lonely figure on the right for Spain. They are moving everything down the other flank.
Costa won the penalty but I think it was there to be won.
Cor, Alba is lightning
Costa definitely left it there on purpose.
Defo a trailing foot which de Vrij could have avoided, maybe.
Now I need to wash my brain!
Alonso slots the penalty past Cillessen into the bottom left. Just too far for the keeper to reach.
Alonso to take … and score. 1-0 Spain.
De Vrij brings down Diego Costa in the box….
He definitely caught the trailing foot when Costa cut inside.
Robben’s playing a little narrower than he does for Bayern. So far no one has found van Persie.
Nigel “the beast” De Jong
I still can’t believe Casillas only played two La Liga matches this season
Ron Vlaar denies Diego Costa. I didn’t think I’d be writing that.
The Brazilians in the ground are making their view on Diego Costa clear.
I saw Robben in the Allianz opposite Leverkusen earlier this season (my first opportunity in the flesh) and he was disappointingly average…..
I know that has absolutely nothing to do with this evening.
Casillas made it look simple (as you’d expect)
Great ball from Robben to Sneijder and a decent save from Casillas.
Stoppages appear to have the upper hand in the early exchanges.
Wait until England line up tomorrow and you drop Rooney and Gerrard out of that same equation.
It’s early stages of the game so the director’s taking the time to get some close ups of the coaches looking intense, hiding their free copies of the Sun and whatnot.
Not a fan of both teams playing in their second kits.
Looks like we’ll all be supporting them tonight then. One of my closest family friends, and her family, live in Amsterdam
If this had audio I’d break out some Eiffel 65
My wife is of the opinion that Ron Vlaar resembles Jason Statham.
My surname is Dutch (although I’m from Thornton Heath) so I almost always root for them.
I have to agree, their blue kit is a positive though
Forgot how grey Robin Van Persie got during the turbulence of David Moyes
The Spanish national anthem there with its easy to learn lyrics.
I guess there maybe some question marks about Diego Costa’s fitness but if he’s on form, he could really breath new life into Spain… not that they need much of that.
I hope Nigel is as scrappy as the final
Losing Strootman is a huge loss for the Dutch but a back five is a bold decision for getting past that..
I think there may be some boo’s tonight.
The Netherlands were pretty awful in Euro 2012 but qualified with relative ease. Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder are the two best known attackers but, as with all World Cups, the value lies in watching players you don’t normally get the chance to see in the club season.
Also folk are curious to see how Brazilian born, Diego Costa reacts in a Brazilian stadium.
Ahoy ‘hoy! Lots of anticipation ahead of this match. Obviously it’s a remake of the 2010 Final (hopefully a better one that the original directed by Howard Webb) but it will be interesting to see if Spain have still got it after all these years. They have the talent but to they have the appetite.