Spanish mourn 'humiliation', Dutch delight

17:00, Jun 14 2014
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HIGH FIVE: Robin van Persie of the Netherlands celebrates with head coach Louis van Gaal.
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Robin van Persie of the Netherlands lines up the ball prior to scoring his teams first goal.
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And he sends it off...
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Can it make it? Yes, yes it can.
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Spain's Xabi Alonso celebrates with teammates after scoring a penalty goal, the first of the match and their only one.
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Stefan de Vrij deflects the ball in for the Netherlands' third goal against Spain.
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Robin van Persie heads the ball to score against Spain.
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Jean Beausejour celebrates scoring Chile's third goal with Mauricio Pinilla.
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Chile beat the Socceroos 3-1.
Tim Cahill
Australian striker Tim Cahill remonstrates after having a goal disallowed against Chile.
Tim Cahill
Tim Cahill leaps above Gary Medel to head the ball past Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
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Referee Noumandiez Doue sprays a temporary line for the Socceroos' wall to stay behind during a free kick.
Mark Bresciano
Australia's Mark Bresciano and Chile's Marcelo Diaz collide in Cuiaba.
Jean Beausejour
Jean Beausejour strikes Chile's final goal to secure a 3-1 victory over Australia.
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie high-fives Daryl Janmaat after scoring the Netherlands' second goal.
Arjen Robben
Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben gestures to a TV camera after scoring his third goal at the World Cup.
Tim Cahill
Socceroos striker Tim Cahill celebrates after his volley goal that is a contender for goal of the tournament.
Mile Jedinak
Australian captain Mile Jedinak is somewhere under the pile after converting his spot kick for a 2-1 lead.
Memphis Depay
Australia's Ryan McGowan looks on in disappointment as Memphis Depay celebrates his match-winning goal with Robin van Persie.
Tim Cahill and Ron Vlaar
Tim Cahill (right) and Ron Vlaar battle for the ball.
Gary Medel
Gary Medel of Chile controls the ball against David Silva of Spain during their World Cup Group B match at Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres of Spain competes for the ball with Gary Medel (left), Marcelo Diaz (second left) and Francisco Silva of Chile (second right).
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Jose Pedro Fuenzalida, Felipe Gutierrez and Gary Medel of Chile celebrate a 2-0 victory over Spain in their Group B match at Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Sergio Ramos of Spain looks on as teammate Jordi Alba fixes his boot during the World Cup Group B match at Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Mauricio Isla
Chile's Mauricio Isla, Eduardo Vargas, Arturo Vidal and Gonzalo Jara (left to right) celebrate after their first goal during their World Cup Group B football match against Spain at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Diego Costa
Spain's Sergio Ramos tries to hide his disappointment after a shock 2-0 loss to Chile during their World Cup Group B football match at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Stefan de Vrij
Stefan de Vrij of the Netherlands and Mauricio Pinilla of Chile compete for the ball during the Group B match between the Netherlands and Chile at Arena de Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Arjen Robben
Arjen Robben of the Netherlands controls the ball as Gonzalo Jara of Chile gives chase during their World Cup clash in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
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Chile's Alexis Sanchez (right) argues with Dirk Kuyt (left) and Ron Vlaar of the Netherlands during their 2014 World Cup Group B football match.
Leroy Fer
Leroy Fer of the Netherlands celebrates after scoring a goal against Chile at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Memphis Depay
Memphis Depay of the Netherlands (right) celebrates after scoring a goal with teammates Arjen Robben (centre) and Daley Blind during their 2014 World Cup Group B football match against Chile.
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Ron Vlaar (left) and Daley Blind of the Netherlands celebrate after defeating Chile after their 2014 World Cup Group B football match at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo.
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Spain striker David Villa scores past Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan during their Group B clash at the Baixada Arena in Curitiba.
David Villa
David Villa puts Spain 1-0 up against Australia with a neat back heel past Australia's Mathew Ryan.
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Chelsea striker Fernando Torres scores Spain's second goal against the Socceroos.
Spain midfielder Juan Mata is tracked by Australia's Mark Bresciano.
Juan Mata slots Spain's third goal through the legs of Socceroos goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.

Football fans in Spain were in shock on Saturday (local time) after watching the national team's 5-1 humiliation in its World Cup opener against the Netherlands.

It was Spain's worst defeat in 64 years and comes after "La Roja" - as the team is nicknamed after its red shirts - had dominated world football since 2008 with consecutive European Championships and a World Cup win in South Africa.

"Disaster," said leading newspaper El Pais on Saturday (local time) while El Mundo rated the performance a "Humiliation" and La Vanguardia called it "A failure."

City streets, accustomed to noisy celebrations after Spain wins, were eerily quiet after Friday's rout as fans filed silently out of bars.

Some refused to accept it meant the end of an era but others called for the coach to make radical changes.

"We now have to lift ourselves up, or at least to try and do so," said salesman Martin Valero, 25. "It's no big deal, last World Cup we also began with a defeat but went on to win," he said.

However, the first-game stumble in the 2010 World Cup was a 1-0 defeat against Switzerland in a meeting where Spain was dominant.

Coach Vicente del Bosque's side appeared to struggle in the humid heat of Salvador before collapsing altogether in the second half, with captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas looking disoriented after conceding repeatedly.

"It's evident there is exhaustion and fatigue there," said hotel worker Antonio Azcona, 46. "Del Bosque needs to allow new blood in and bench (Gerard) Pique, Xavi (Hernandez) and Casillas."

"La Roja is at the twilight of its best ever team," said football commentator Jose Samano in an opinion editorial in El Pais.

Many critics, who discussed the rout at length in late-night television debates, said Del Bosque had blundered by not training the squad in higher temperatures with greater humidity.

The Netherlands had been seen practicing vigorously on the sandy beaches of Rio de Janeiro while Spain had come from playing a friendly against El Salvador in Washington D.C.'s FedEx Stadium to set up camp in Curitiba, where temperatures are around 10 degrees Celsius less than in Salvador, the critics said.

Del Bosque now has until June 18 to address the squad's shortcomings before a must-win match against Chile in Group B.

"We must overcome the next test as athletes," Del Bosque said. "We cannot allow ourselves to sink, we need to look forward."

He said Spain was made up of professionals and "good kids who understand that, although we've been hurt by this defeat, there must not be any accusatory glances toward anyone."

The coach said he had witnessed "an uplifting conversation" in the dressing room which he described as "good for the team."

Del Bosque acknowledged he had been surprised by the Dutch attack.

"It's not normal, I can't find words," he said, adding that Spain had always managed its defense well, "but today we were weak."

DUTCH DELIGHT

Dutch delight screamed out from the pages of their newspapers as the country basked in the afterglow of a thrilling win over holders Spain.

"What a hero" wrote the Algemeen Dagblad, which ran an almost full-page picture of Arjen Robben, who scored twice in the 5-1 victory at the Fonte Nova arena at the start of Group B.

"A dream start," trumpeted De Telegraaf, adding that the result was revenge for the defeat by Spain in the 2010 final.

De Volkskrant also had the same lead headline, showing a flying Robin Van Persie scoring a remarkable headed first goal.

"Super sensation was written in Salvador according to the master plan of coach Louis van Gaal," said the paper.

"It was one of the most memorable matches in the team's World Cup history, even in the history of the tournament itself. It was hard to believe... but true."

The business daily NRC Handelsblad said Van Gaal had shown he had few equals for tactical acumen in engineering the win.

Algemeen Dagblad added that the unexpected victory was also a triumph for the Dutch league, whose clubs provided six of the starting lineup.

It pointed out that the five defenders - four from Dutch clubs - had 88 caps between them, far fewer than the 117 won by Spain fullback Sergio Ramos alone.

"Yet for all their inexperience, the (Dutch) defence did not put a foot wrong," the paper said.

Willem van Hanegem, who played in the Netherlands' 1974 World Cup final defeat by West Germany, said the Dutch proved Spain could be rolled over by putting pressure on them.

"(Gerard) Pique and Ramos had a really hard time and I found that great for our team," he wrote in a column.

- AP, Reuters

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