clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

World Cup: Spain-Holland Match Review

Holland's 5-1 thrashing of Spain sent shock-waves through the football world. But is this merely another bump in the road for Del Bosque's side, or a wake-up call to what could be a grim reality Roja fans have yet to accept?

Quinn Rooney

Coming off three wins in as many major international competitions, Spain looked to get off to another good start. The first chance of the game fell to Wesley Sneijder, who found himself one on one with Casillas, but put his shot straight at the Real Madrid keeper, in what was somewhat reminiscent of Casillas' save on Arjen Robben in the 2010 World Cup.

After a shaky start defensively, Spain settled into their possession game, and found their first chance of the game in the form of an Andrés Iniesta long-range effort that sailed just high of the bar. Newly capped Spanish international, Diego Costa, soon after found himself one on one with Cillessen, but didn't react fast enough, and failed to get a shot off. The Atlético striker was played through with a wonderful ball from David Silva just minutes later, but thunder-bolted his shot wide of the net.

Around the 25th minute, Spain's majestic midfield play culminated in an utterly brilliant ball from Xavi to Costa, who was taken down in the box, and awarded a penalty. Del Bosque selected Real Madrid maestro, Xabi Alonso, to take the penalty, which he converted with ease, making it 1-0 Spain.

Just before the half, Iniesta played a sublime ball to David Silva down the left, but the Manchester City man dinked it wide of the net, perhaps surprised by what was an otherworldly pass from Don Andrés himself.

Minutes later, after Silva's miss, Van Persie equalized with a diving, acrobatic header that caught Casillas off his line. After barely touching the ball for 44 minutes, the Dutchman's spectacular header saw both teams enter the half with one goal a piece.

Second half was all Holland. Robben scored in the 52nd to make it 1-2 off a diagonal ball that caught Gerard Piqué flat-footed. Del Bosque's looked to make changes in 62nd by bringing on Fernando Torres and Pedro for Costa and Xabi Alonso. But these changes proved futile as Holland scored a third when Casillas misjudged a cross, leading to a tap-in for Stefan to make 1-3.

After a disallowed goal for David Silva, Holland scored again after yet another Casillas blunder. The La Roja legend failed to control a simple back-pass, as Van Persie stole the ball and converted to make it 1-4.

As if it wasn't already a night of humiliation for the defending World Cup champions, Robben scored his second to make it 1-5, as Spaniards everywhere sunk their heads.

In what surely sent shockwaves through the football world, Spain's defeat was only their fourth in the last 65 competitive matches. Being able to motivate a group of players who have experienced as much success as this Spanish side have is a difficult task. While I am not one to judge Del Bosque, if Spain are to recover, it is imperative that changes are made.

Whether or not Del Bosque's continues to succumb to his stubbornness remains to be seen. But with a very difficult match against Chile ahead, the Spain manager can't afford to repeat his mistakes. There is a plethora of talent at Del Bosque's disposal. Younger players like Javi Martinez and Koke could see action for their increased mobility, and defensive work-rate, of which Spain sorely lacked.

In 2010, Spain lost to Switzerland in the opening match, but went on to win the tournament in spectacular fashion. At this point, everyone knows how Spain want to play. If they want to repeat their remarkable run in 2010, Del Bosque will either have to evolve the Spanish template, or make the necessary personnel changes. If he fails to do so, 2014 could prove quite embarrassing for Roja fans everywhere.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Barca Blaugranes Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Barca news from Barca Blaugranes