Well, well, well, well, well, who on earth saw that coming? A relatively young squad was taking on the titans called the Spanish National team, who won from Holland in a messy World Cup final in 2010 and are European Champions of 2008 and 2012. Del Bosque’s team had been on a winning streak for 6 years. There might have been a few signs on the wall that its superiority might be waning, but this was still Spain. The Dutch team in contrast had played appallingly at Euro 2012 losing all its first round matches and with a fair amount of new faces, the team is just far less experienced than Del Bosque’s Boys. The Dutch media didn’t have an awful lot of faith in this first match. We should be happy with a draw, but Spain was most likely to win, the consensus was.
Last night’s-Holland-vs-Spain match was the final we should’ve had 4 years ago; exciting, entertaining and most certainly dramatic. Although the Boys of Orange – playing in blue- had some chances Spain was absolutely dominant in the first 44 minutes of the match having most ball possesion and utilising a penalty given by means of De Vrij’s too solid defending. Xabi Alonso aims and although goalkeeper Cillissen is in the right corner he just isn’t quick enough and in the 27th minute Spain sets the tone; it’s 1-0. Just before half time, Van Persie manages to break free from the Spanish defence and a beautiful pass from Blind is transformed in some seal-like action in the form of a most delicious header-volley, which Van Persie hits over Spanish goalie Casillas, who can only stare at it in horror, making it 1-1 at a crucial stage of the game.
We don’t know what coach Louis van Gaal has said to the Boys during half time, but when returning to the pitch, the team played like they had kryptonite in their boots, willing and able to defeat the titans. Eight minutes into the second half with another solid pass from Blind, Robben outwits defenders Ramos – who looks so much better since he ditch the hair- and Piqué and veteran goalie Casillas to score 2-1. At that point Spain seem to have lost it and there is no stopping the Boys of Orange. A bit more than 10 minutes later Sneijder’s free kick misses Van Persie but bounces some how between the right goalpost and De Vrij’s shin and into the net making it 3-1 .
As you can imagine we Dutchies go absolutely mental not knowing that there would be even more in store. The height of Spain’s despair is perfectly ilustrated when Casillas -of all goalies- is not quick and determined enough clearing a pass. Van Persies squeezes in and makes optimum use of Casillas’ mistake scoring 4-1. Just when one thought the thrashing couldn’t get more painful for Spain, Robben gave a most buttery icing to an already über-lush cake by taking a pass from just outside the Dutch pentaly area running with it as if truly possessed by the spirit of football, outrunning the Spanish defence and with some skilful twists and turns outwitting Casillas, who has come out of his goal, smashing it into the right corner. Boom. 5-1
Was this a freak show? Or just the result of Van Gaal unleashing his magical genius? Time will tell. Spain might just have had a REALLY bad night and I’m not writing them off just yet. But the Boys of Orange have demonstrated what they are capable of if their magic is unleashed. They might not have the experience yet, but De Vrij and Vlaar have proved to be solid defenders. Blind has been a master with his passes and controling the flow of the game and when Robben, Van Persie and Sneijder are on a roll, there just ain’t stopping them. So if you’re asking the Dark Fairy, she”ll say: Keep up the magic and the entertainment! Booya!