COMMENT: The Oranje demolished the European and world champions 5-1 on Friday night in an incredible display as they got revenge for the World Cup final defeat four years ago
By Peter McVitie
If revenge is a dish best served cold, then what Netherlands brought to the table and sat in front of Vicente del Bosque and his Spain side must have been at absolute zero.
The world title eluded them four years ago in Soccer City as Arjen Robben scuppered a golden opportunity which could have secured victory against the Spaniards, but the record was set straight by the Bayern Munich man along with his fellow stars Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder.
The absence of Kevin Strootman following his injury in March saw many write the Dutch off completely before a ball had even been kicked. There was, said the nation’s natives, media and fans, simply no hope without the Roma star. However, a tactical masterstroke from Louis van Gaal has not only covered for the loss, but made them an incredible machine.
The Oranje boss’ switch to a 5-3-2 formation and turn his team into a more counterattacking unit was deemed to be an acknowledgement that they simply weren’t good enough this time to battle with the elite. Instead, it was simply perfect.
Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder, operating as a front three and completely separate from the rest of the team, were simply remarkable against the Spaniards.