In a rematch of the 2010 final, which Spain won 1-0, Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben each scored two goals for the Dutch, with Stefan de Vrij adding the other. Xabi Alonso had given Spain the lead with a penalty kick in the first half."Practically nothing went right for us,” Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta told reporters. “This game is over. We have to put it behind us and look to the next one.”
Spain, which was upset by Switzerland in its first game of the last World Cup in South Africa, faces Chile and Australia in its other Group B games. Two teams advance to the round of 16, with the runner-up in Group B facing the winner of Group A, which comprises host nation and tournament favorite Brazil, Cameroon, Mexico and Croatia.
Alonso scored after Diego Costa went down under a challenge by De Vrij. Costa, who was born about 150 miles (240 kilometers) from Salvador in northeast Brazil and got dual nationality after several years playing in Spain’s La Liga, was booed by the crowd at Fonte Nova stadium in his home town.
Van Persie leveled for the Dutch two minutes before halftime when he looped a diving header over Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Robben added a second after 54 minutes, when he beat defender Gerard Pique and fired in.
De Vrij made it 3-1 after 66 minutes when he squeezed the ball into the net after Casillas, challenged by Van Persie, failed to catch the ball. The Spain goalkeeper received a yellow card for complaining to Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli that he was impeded.Casillas failed to control the ball with his foot three minutes later, allowing Van Persie to get another goal. Robben added the fifth goal after a defensive mix-up between Casillas and Sergio Ramos.
Earlier, Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0 on Oribe Peralta’s second-half goal.In the 10th minute, Mexico’s Giovani Dos Santos volleyed in a shot and was ruled offside. Twenty minutes later, he headed a goal in from a corner and was again ruled offside, incorrectly, as the ball had come off the head of a Cameroon defender before reaching the Mexican.
Last night in the opening match of the tournament, Croatian coach Niko Kovac complained that Brazil benefited from a questionable referee decision to give the host nation a penalty kick that broke a 1-1 tie in the second half. Brazil won the game 3-1.