Friday, June 13, 2014

Netherlands Crush Spain 5-1 in Historic Comeback

Robin van Persie's flying header to equalize
When Spain took a 1-0 lead in this rematch of the 2010 World Cup final, everything seemed in order. The Spanish toyed with possession, looking cool and composed as they stroked the ball around the quaking Dutch players. Halftime was just minutes away, when Robin van Persie flew through the air and popped a stunning header over Casillas to equalize. It was a fantastic equalizer which would set the gears in motion for one of the most unexpected comebacks imaginable.

It wasn't long into the second half when the Netherlands turned the score around. With a feathery touch Robben controlled a long ball over Spain's defence before dribbling past Pique to slot into the back of the net. Just eleven minutes later Sneijder's free kick found Stefan de Vrij at the back post who bundled it into the back of the net. At 3-1 Spain were unable to regain control of the match as Robin van Persie gave them another scare with a thunderous volley which slammed onto the crossbar.

However, the Dutch captain didn't have to wait long before finding the scoresheet again, as Iker Casillas' poor touch let van Persie slide the ball in to make it 4-1. The Netherlands were running rampant at this point, dancing around the Spanish and creating chances with ease. It was Robben who scored the final goal, his blistering run past the Spanish defence and around Casillas was finished with a blast into the top corner.

While many thought that the Netherlands would be hungry for revenge against the Spanish, no one expected this sort of a scoreline. This 5-1 loss puts a significant damper on Spain's 2014 World Cup campaign, bringing up the question about whether the era of Spanish dominance is coming to an end. This is certainly the country's biggest defeat in a while as the last time Spain conceded this many goals was in 1963 against Scotland when they lost 6-2. A historic scoreline marks a great start for the Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup, and an unexpected set of problems for Spain.

What are your thoughts on this historic victory? Is this the beginning of the end for Spain's dominance? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Peralta Gives Mexico 1-0 Win Over Cameroon

In a match played under torrential downpour, Mexico have managed to start their 2014 World Cup campaign with a 1-0 victory over Cameroon. Mexico coach Miguel Herrera set out his side in an attacking 3-3-4 formation, which without the ball dropped back into more of a 3-5-2. The two up front for Mexico were Giovani Dos Santos and Oribe Peralta, with Javier Hernandez kept on the bench. Cameroon had the two main pillars of Alex Song in central midfield and Samuel Eto'o up front, settling into a 4-5-1 with Eto'o as the main attacking outlet.

It was Herrera and Dos Santos for Mexico who took control of the match, and put Cameroon under pressure. El Tri were much more comfortable with the ball than the African nation who looked fairly shaky as Mexico maintained possession and cut forward with their quick movement. Although both sides went into the half without a goal it could have been 2-1 for Mexico, as there were three disallowed goals, all due to offside positions (some more legitimate than others). After the opening match's doubtful penalty, the surely legitimate goal which Dos Santos had disallowed only adds to the criticism of this tournament's refereeing.

Although Cameroon were holding onto the draw fairly well, they had little invention going forward. The African side wasn't able to settle down with possession, and were often too snappy in trying to feed Eto'o or run towards goal. On the other hand, Mexico were patient and in the 61st minute Herrera topped a great passing move with a through ball for Dos Santos towards goal. The Villarreal forward had his shot parried by Itandje, but Peralta pounced on the rebound and tucked it in.

With the 1-0 lead, Mexico coach Herrera decided to give Peralta the scorer's ovation substituting him with Javier Hernandez. The Manchester United striker looked dangerous, but when served a pacey cross in front of goal, the unmarked Chicharito blasted it over the bar. With this win Mexico put Croatia in a difficult position in group A, but El Tri still have plenty to worry about as they play Brazil in their next match.

Can Mexico manage to get out of group A ahead of Croatia? Has the refereeing hindered this World Cup so far? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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