The Football Neutral World Cup: Spain vs The Netherlands


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Pre Match:

So we’re on BBC for this one. Already a load better, although you can really tell when Rio Ferdinand is reading rather than talking off the cuff.  Everyone talking this game up, so it’ll probably be completely terrible.

I think I’m supporting the Netherlands because Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities and Ajax one of my favourite clubs based on how their fans treated me and the wife earlier in the year.

Seems to be a lot of empty seats again. At least it’s not raining like earlier on.

During the national anthems, Xavi must have deliberately positioned himself between two massive players knowing that it would make me spit my vimto out.

No fans seem to be that bothered about their national anthem if the big screen camera focuses on them.

The pre match graphics with the whole arm-folding mini-video is bloody ridiculous. Bruno Martins Indi did it the best.  Big smile.  Everyone else took it far too seriously.

Both teams in their away kits, which is daft.  I always like the Dutch kit.

1: Don’t wish to alarm anyone, but apparently Ron Vlaar is a good enough defender to play at a World Cup.

2: Usual long ball tactics from Spain there. Then Busquets boots Sneijder up in the air in a 1960s “let him know you’re here” tactic.

4: Belgium now on the rise, Netherlands on the decline. How long till Luxembourg start making a splash?

6: Everyone watching is hoping that Xabi Alonso gets revenge on Nigel De Jong in a proper Mortal Kombat style.

8: Sneijder powers through, Casillas makes the first save he’s made in about two months.  Spain defence look at each other as if to say “Oh! They’re allowed to run at us with pace and intent! Cheeky fucks.”

10: Iniesta now looks like my GCSE English teacher. He used to make us watch videos about Kate Bush and Morrissey on the last day of term.  I think they may constitute abuse.

12: Diego Costa getting booed with every touch for essentially being a high level glory hunter.

13: I take it back about Vlaar. Proper sorted out Diego Costa then.  Would be fun to see Costa’s reaction if he scored.  Also, you know that there is a hack somewhere trying to come up with a story to fit the headline “Costa Coffee”.

15: Mark Lawrenson on Nigel De Jong: “He likes hitting people in the chest, doesn’t he?”  He followed this with “I don’t think De Jong is a World Class footballer, but he’s got World Class tattoos.  Dude needs to see mine.

20: Arjen Robben has been trying to untie his boots since the last comment.

23: Diego Costa looks more like the Hulk than Hulk.

25: Cross from the Dutch, crying out for a Van Basten. Instead a lame pass back inside.

26: GOAL – SPAIN – XABI ALONSO: Diego Costa in the box, felled by De Vrij who takes out his trailing foot. Cillessen in the Dutch goal tries to have words with Xabi Alonso who smashes it into the bottom right corner.  Keeper guessed right. Goal line technology replay happened again. Really not needed.

31: Kind of hoped that Diego Costa playing up front would mean Spain just deciding to switch it up and play long ball.  This has not happened.  Brazilians booing him to death though.  Is a brave man who abandons his home nation in favour of where he lives BEFORE a World Cup in said home nation.

37: So far Jonathan De Guzman has swapped bodies with Nigel De Jong and is booting people left, right and centre.

38: Imagine David Silva with a moustache, shorter hair and wearing a white vest. Dead ringer for Freddie Mercury.

43: What a pass from Iniesta to David Silva.  Cheeky chip well saved by Jasper Cillessen, corner comes to nowt. You watch Spain and just think that there is no chance that any other team could pass the ball as well.

44: GOAL – THE NETHERLANDS – ROBIN VAN PERSIE: I watched Daley Blind for Ajax in January; he hits an unbelievable 35 yard pass from the right wing to the edge of the box where Van Persie dives to head the ball over Iker Casillas. Best goal of the tournament so far, albeit a little undeserved on the balance of play.  Blind is a real talent, although seems to be being used out wide rather than in the defensive midfield role I watched him.  Van Persie celebrates with Louis Van Gaal, brown-nosing so hard that somewhere Wayne Rooney can be heard swearing.


Half Time:

The best thing about this game is that it isn’t awful, because that’s what you’d expect to end up happening after all the hype.  The save from Cillessen kept the Dutch in the game, and from there Van Persie levels it.  69% possession to Spain though, unless they make mistakes or you get a wonder-pass like the one from Blind then they’re hard to break down.

Pundit panel is Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry.  Rio’s tone and comments make Shearer sound insightful, intelligent and bubbly. The word is “think”, Rio. It has a “th” sound in it. Not “fink”.

Now the latest from the England camp! It’s hot. England probably won’t win.  That’s about it.  Keeps Gabby Logan in a job.

Phil Neville is now insisting on being called Philip.  He looks like Bez with a touch of henna in his hair.

Halftime snack was a Nobbly Bobbly.  What an ice lolly that is, although the wife calls it a “lolly ice”.  Utter madness.

46: And here comes the rain! Proper rain, too.  Like what we get here in North Wales.

47: Daryl Janmaat looks exactly like Owen Hargreaves.

50: Not a day goes past when I don’t wish that a certain Spanish player was called Sergio Biscuits.

52: GOAL – THE NETHERLANDS – ARJEN ROBBEN: This is why I’m not a pundit.  Spain give the ball away, pass their way upfield and a long ball to Robben is brought down outside the area.  He runs a few yards forwards, turns Pique and Sergio Ramos and slots it home.  Commentators say “what an upset we have on our hands”.  Er… no.  IT’S THE FINALISTS FROM FOUR YEARS AGO!  It’s not Honduras or Algeria, is it?  It’s the bloody Netherlands!

54: Diego Costa headbutts Bruno Martins Indi, who probably keeps the Spanish striker from getting sent off by not flailing himself around like a tool.  As the ref warns Costa, Martins Indi gives him a death stare that would terrify most people.

56: Spain keep giving the ball away, almost like they’re a tad overconfident in their ability to pass wherever they want.  Crucially they’ve not carved out an incisive chance as yet; The Netherlands have made three – the Sneijder miss, the Van Persie wondergoal and then the great team movement to lead to Robben’s goal.

58: End of an era chat from the commentators now.  Spain are losing by one goal to one of the best teams in the world.  Shall we calm down a bit and just enjoy the game?

60: Pedro and Fernando Torres about to come on. FEAR THE PLAYERS THAT NEVER GET IN THEIR CLUB’S FIRST ELEVEN!

61: Great run from Robben, pass helped on by Janmaat, Van Persie hits the bar. The Netherlands have come to win this, that’s for sure.

62: De Guzman off for the Georginio Wijnaldum. Dutch names are brilliant.  For Spain, Xabi Alonso off for Pedro, Diego Costa (who has done nothing but headbutt Bruno Martins Indi in the second half) off for Fernando Torres.

64: GOAL – THE NETHERLANDS – STEFAN DE VRIJ: Free kick from the right wing foolishly given away by Gerard Pique under pressure from Daley Blind.  Kick swung in from Robben, Casillas goes up with Van Persie and they both miss it, De Vrij nods in right on the post to make it 3-1, redeeming the penalty he gave away earlier.

66: Robin Van Persie booked for a wild swing on Pedro as it all starts kicking off.

68: GOAL DISALLOWED – DAVID SILVA – SPAIN. Silva offside as the ball headed at the Dutch goal, Cillessen makes a good save but Silva taps in, only for it to be disallowed.  Turning into a proper good game now.

71: They keep showing pictures of three Spanish fans wearing hats that have tiny bulls on them. They look proper bloody miserable.

72: Crowd doing a Mexican wave. SIT DOWN, IT’S IN BRAZIL.

72: GOAL – THE NETHERLANDS – ROBIN VAN PERSIE: Casillas properly arses up a backpass, Van Persie pounces on it, stays on his feet despite being fould by the Spanish keeper and slots home.  And based on the second half, this is completely deserved.  The Netherlands look brilliant with their three “stars” in Sneijder, Robben and Van Persie with the wingbacks of Janmaat and Blind looking impressive too.  The Dutch fans are now doing the conga.

76: Spain free kick, ref gets the spray out. Gets some on Bruno Martins Indi’s leopard print boots and he properly kicks off.  Brilliant.

77: Joel Veltman comes on for goalscorer Stefan De Vrij. I swear he motions to Veltman that they’ll have a smoke later on. Oh, the Dutch.

79: Van Persie off now for Jermain Lens who is seriously bloody quick.  As it looks at the minute, Spain have no pace whatsoever at the back.

80: GOAL – THE NETHERLANDS – ARJEN ROBBEN: Sneijder wins the ball, pumps it upfield towards Robben who is at least 10mph quicker than Sergio Ramos.  Robben eventually beats the keeper to make it 5.  I am now thinking of all the Dutch fans we befriended on our trip to watch Ajax.  Hope they’re having a party there now!

82: If the Dutch fans were singing in English now, I imagine the song would be “You can shove your Tiki-Taka up your arse”.

87: Wijnaldum should have scored, then Robben is well saved by Casillas. The Dutch want six. I’ll be honest, I want six. I don’t dislike Spain, but this is properly mesmerising.

89: Even Nigel De Jong is breaking forwards now.  If he scores against Spain then they may as well go home now.

90: 4 minutes of added time. Torres clean through and he somehow gets robbed by Daley Blind to rather arse it up.  FIFTY MILLION QUID MATE.

Final Whistle:

Bloody hell.

Well, I don’t think anyone expected that, did they?  Spain losing to the Netherlands isn’t a shock, the scoreline certainly is though.  An ageing Spanish side looked slow and although The Netherlands don’t have a wealth of star players the three that they do have are still terrifyingly good on their day.  Robben, Van Persie and Sniejder could well light up the whole tournament.

Their formation also works: Three defenders who can pass the ball, two tireless wingbacks, two strong midfielders, two attacking midfielders and a striker at the top.  They let Spain play their game in the first half and then just exploded on them.  I’m almost speechless.

And what now for Spain?  They’ve got to bounce back but the group isn’t too hard; they’ll beat Chile and Australia and be safe, but they’re not going to win the group now.  The confidence amongst the Dutch players must be massive.

Man of the Match: Daley Blind. Started pretty much every attack by winning the ball or providing a killer pass.

Match Rating: 9/10




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