Netherlands. 5. Spain. 1.
In a result no one predicted, the Netherlands eviscerated, disemboweled, pummeled and completely destroyed defending World and European champions Spain behind braces from Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie. After 45 evenly matched minutes that saw Xabi Alonso score a penalty and Robin Van Persie score an incredible flying/diving header, it was the final 45 minutes that defined this clash.
Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben was deployed centrally underneath Robin Van Persie but operated in a completely free role, swinging about to both sides and cutting through the middle. Spain's defense did a good job of restricting Robben in the first half to the tune of only 19 completed touches. However, in the second half he broke free, reigning supreme on the field garnering 27 touches, scoring two wonderful goals and being an utter nuisance for the Spanish defensive midfield and backline.
In the 53rd minute, Arjen Robben showed Spain just exactly why he's one of the best players in the world, showcasing his deft touch and incredible skill with the ball at his feet. Oh, and the power of that multi-million dollar left foot.
After the Netherlands took the lead, Vincente del Bosque withdrew Xabi Alonso to bring on the speed of winger Pedro. It was an effort to spread the game and isolate the Dutch players. It backfired horribly as it left Sergio Busqeuts alone by himself to fend off a rotating attacking trio of Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben, and Wesley Sneijder. Any defensive midfielder in that scenario would have given up and sat down on the pitch, which is about what Busquets did in terms of effectiveness. The Dutch attackers ran circles around him forcing Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique into compromising positions again and again. A set piece goal and another goal from Robin Van Persie made it 4-1.
But it was goal number 5, and Robben's second, in the 80th minute that showcased his speed and and brought the entire package together, for both him and the Netherlands, as he embarrassed the entire Spanish defense.
It was a comprehensive attacking performance from the Dutch side, and a truly brilliant display from Arjen Robben.
Group B is now wide open. Bring on Chile and Australia.