Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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The Netherlands Destroy Spain, 5-1, in Earth Shaking Upset at World Cup

Ecstatic Dutch fans exult; Stefan de Vrij scores The Netherlands' third goal

Ecstatic Dutch fans exult; Stefan de Vrij scores The Netherlands' third goal

The unthinkable has taken place at the World Cup.

The Netherlands, long recognized as one of the best in Europe but never good enough for the World Cup's top prize, annihilated defending champion Spain, 5-1, in Group B in Salvador yesterday.

The highly anticipated game, a rematch of the finalists at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, resulted in the worst thrashing administered to a Spanish national team in 64 years. It was a most magnificent revenge for the rampaging Dutch, who lost the World Cup to Spain, 0-1, in Johannesburg on July 11, 2010.

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It also makes the men in Orange a heavy favorite for the World Cup title the lost in 1974 to Germany and in 1978 to Argentina.

Spain's loss took the over confident Spaniards to the brink of a humiliating early exit. A defeat in any of their remaining games to either Chile or Australia will mean "Adios" for the fancied Spaniards.

It will take a miracle for the unheralded Australians to beat the Spaniards. They lost, 1-2, to Chile in Group B's other game yesterday. The strong Chileans are altogether another thing. They now have the historic opportunity to send Spain home in humiliation and their upcoming game will certainly draw massive crowds.

Spain started its drive to win a second World Cup on the right foot of Xabi Alonso who gave it a 1-0 lead from the penalty spot after Brazil-born Diego Costa was taken down by Stefan de Vrij.

Spanish joy was fleeting as Robin van Persie took the score to 1-1 with a magnificent diving header. After a seemingly even first-half, the Dutch took control in the second and the bewildered Spaniards fell apart in spectacular fashion.

Arjen Robben gave the Dutch the lead, 2-1, at the beginning of the second half while de Vrij made up for his earlier foul on Costa to make it 3-1 slightly after one hour into the game.

Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas' incredible defensive error gave van Persie his second goal after 72 minutes. Robben added to Spanish humiliation by smashing through the stunned Spanish defense eight minutes later to take the final score to 5-1.

The result is Spain's worst at a World Cup in six decades. It is even more astonishing since Spain retained possession of the ball 54 percent of the time. The rout simply means the Dutch well and truly outplayed the Spaniards famous for their unique "tiki-taki" brand of football.

After the defeat, Andres Iniesta said Spain was powerless to prevent the vengeful Dutch from tearing them apart.

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