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Saturday, Jun 14, 2014

Sports

5-1 Dutch defeat leaves Spain reeling at World Cup

AFP | Saturday, Jun 14, 2014

SALVADOR, Brazil - Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben each scored twice as a rampant Netherlands humiliated Spain 5-1 in a repeat of their 2010 World Cup final that left the defending champions floundering on Saturday.

A jubilant van Persie, who scored one of the best goals seen at the World Cup, said it was one of greatest football nights for the Netherlands. Spain's goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas took the blame for what he called his worst night.

Van Persie pounced in each half as the Dutch recovered from a controversial Xabi Alonso penalty to inflict the worst defeat suffered by Spain in 51 years and the worst suffered by any defending champions in their return to the World Cup.

Chile beat a stubborn Australia 3-1 to fall behind the Netherlands at the top of Group B on goal difference.

Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0 in Group A, but claimed they should have had two more on the scoresheet as referees' decisions again inflamed the World Cup debate.

Van Persie made an incredible dive to reach a header from a long pass that sent the ball over Casillas to level the game just before half-time.

Film of the goal went viral. It gave the Dutch, who thought the penalty awarded against Stefan de Vrij for a challenge on Diego Costa was rough justice, belief that revenge for 2010 was possible.

De Vrij got his personal revenge for the penalty and Robben scored twice around van Persie's second goal, as Spain's night fell apart.

"We didn't react well to Van Persie's second goal - they were euphoric and they hammered us," said Spain coach Vicente del Bosque.

"We did everything wrong in the second half, it was a debacle," added Spain's veteran midfielder Xavi.

It was a personal humiliation for goalkeeper Casillas, 33, one of the stars of the team that so brilliantly won the 2008 and 2012 European Championships and 2010 World Cup.

"I have to ask forgiveness for the match we played in general and me in particular," he said after. "I was not good enough." Even Van Persie was shocked by the scale of the defeat.

"It could have been five, oh, yeah, it was five, but it could have been six, seven or eight goals, in my opinion," the Manchester United star said.

It was the "greatest" night for Dutch football, he added.

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