Saturday 14 June 2014
Two goals from Manchester United striker Robin van Persie helped the Netherlands to come from behind to earn a heavy defeat of defending champions Spain in Group B.
Spain, who included Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta and Manchester City’s David Silva in their starting XI, went ahead through a penalty from Xabi Alonso in the 27th minute. Silva had a chance to make it 2-0 shortly before half-time but his chip was saved before Van Persie’s spectacular header meant the sides went in level at half-time.
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal also started with Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar and Swansea City’s Jonathan De Guzman in his team and the new Manchester United manager watched as they hit four unanswered goals after the break. Arjen Robben struck twice, while Stefan de Vrij and Van Persie capitalised on errors from Spain captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Chelsea’s Fernando Torres, who came on with a substitute along with his new club-mate Cesc Fabregas, missed a late chance to grab a goal back for Spain.
Van Gaal showed a tactical flexibility that United fans might witness of their team in the Barclays Premier League next season by adopting a new 3-5-2 formation instead of their usual 4-3-3 for the Dutch.
"If Van Persie wouldn't have scored the 1-1 before half-time, I would've switched back to the 4-3-3 formation," he said. "If I played with three attackers, my wingers would have chased down the Spain backs too much, that would be a waste.
"I played this system because I believe that we are not good enough to beat Spain with our normal 4-3-3 formation.”
BPL players to feature
Spain: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), David Silva (Man City, 70). Subs: Fernando Torres (Chelsea, 62min), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea, 78). Subs not used: Pepe Reina (Liverpool), David de Gea, Juan Mata (both Man Utd), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal).
Netherlands: Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea City, 62min), Robin van Persie (Man Utd, 79). Subs not used: Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Michel Vorm (Swansea City).
Chelsea’s Samuel Eto’o and Tottenham Hotspur’s Benoit Assou-Ekotto were part of the Cameroon team who lost to Oribe Peralta’s goal for Mexico in Group A. Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez came off the bench for the final quarter of an hour for Mexico.
BPL players to feature
Mexico: Sub: Javier Hernandez (Man Utd, 74min)
Cameroon: Samuel Eto'o (Chelsea); Stephane Mbia (Queens Park Rangers); Benoit Assou Ekotto Tottenham Hotspur (on loan to Queens Park Rangers).
Crystal Palace midfielder and Australia captain Mile Jedinak rued a sloppy opening start from the Socceroos after they went down 3-1 to Chile in Group B.
Chile went 2-0 up through goals from Alexis Sanchez and Jorge Valdivia within the opening quarter of an hour, but former Everton midfielder Tim Cahill halved the deficit with a trademark header before half-time and Australia had other chances to level the scores before Wigan Athletic’s Jean Beausejour secured the win for Chile in stoppage time.
“It's disappointing,” Jedinak said. “We had a right go and those first 20 minutes ended up costing us. “We were on top of them, we were so dominant. We had a couple of good chances, and their keeper pulled off some great saves. It wasn't meant to be, that was the difference.”
BPL player to feature
Australia: Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace)
2 Van Persie (Netherlands & Man Utd)
1 Oscar (Brazil & Chelsea)
14 June (BST)
5pm Colombia v Greece
8pm Uruguay v Costa Rica
11pm England v Italy
2am Ivory Coast v Japan