In this series of articles, we are looking back at the four World Cup games that were a repeat of the World Cup final four years earlier.
On June 13th 2014, the Netherlands earned sweet revenge against Spain after beating them 5-1 at the Fonte Nova in Salvador (Brazil). Thus, they redeemed themselves in dramatic style for the loss to the Iberians in the 2010 World Cup final four years earlier. The new world champions had indeed thrown down the gauntlet in that hotly disputed game (1-0), and the following four years would prove worth the wait to see the Netherlands acquit themselves in such grand fashion.
This was the first time ever that the previous World Cup’s finalists faced each other in a group stage match. Also of a historic note, the 1-5 loss was the heaviest yet suffered by a reigning world champion, and Spain hadn’t lost a World Cup match by such a vast margin since 1950 (to Brazil).
The Netherlands dominated the second half of the game as Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben both scored a pair of goals (Stefan de Vrij also added a strike). The five goals proved more than enough after a controversial penalty had staked Spain a 1-0 lead early in the match. At the 27th minute, La Furia Roja was awarded a penalty kick after De Vrij had brought down Xabi Alonso in the box, and the victim turned victor with his notching the first goal of the game. David Silva had an opportunity to double Spain’s lead just before halftime, but goalkeeper Jaspar Cillessen stonewalled the attempt. The Dutch save just preceded Van Persie’s first score, a flying header in response to a square play that tied the match 1-1 at the 44 minute mark.
In the second half, Robben finessed the ball down the pitch and beat Gerard Pique with what would prove to be the winning goal at 53 minutes. Making amends for his foul, De Vrij iced the cake 11 minutes later with a piercing strike, his first international goal in Dutch colors. Van Persie’s shot at 72 minutes found the net for his second tally of the game and put the Dutch ahead 4-1, on Spanish captain Iker Casillas’s uncharacteristic blunder.
With 10 minutes remaining, Robben scored his second goal to sign and seal the match 5-1 for the Dutch.