Brazil just got a lot more orange.
Or "Oranje," if you prefer. On Friday, the Netherlands absolutely dominated and embarrassed Spain, beating them, 5-1, in one of the most shocking World Cup results in years. Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben each notched a brace in the blowout and made it known in no uncertain terms that they were now the favorites in Group B.
And in the process, perhaps let it be known that the golden generation for Spain has come to a close. If you missed the highlights, ESPN FC has you covered:
Of course, it's a bit soon to throw roses on the grave and lower this Spanish side into the ground. But goodness, were they outclassed over the last 46 minutes of the match by the Dutch. And goodness, was this loss not only brutal, but it was historically brutal for the Spaniards.
Consider this, from Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight:
Or this, from ESPN Stats & Information:
And then there's this, from Ben Smith of BBC Sports:
The other loss he's referring to is the 3-0 beat down Brazil put on Spain in the Confederations Cup final in 2013. Suffice to say, the Spaniards aren't loving Brazil at the moment.
But let's give the Dutch credit amid this Spanish eulogy. Almost across the board, they were brilliant. While Van Persie and Robben will earn the plaudits, the Dutch were solid everywhere on the pitch. Graeme Bailey of Sky Sports picked out two players in particular:
Still, the Netherlands' most valuable player may have been wing-back Daley Blind. Just check out these stats, via ESPN Stats & Information:
But for all of the Dutch brilliance, the epic failure of the defending World Cup champions will be the storyline. So what happened?
Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC has his theories:
So too does Miguel Delaney of ESPN FC:
It's very possible we won't see Iker Casillas again in this tournament. It's just as likely Diego Costa will be done after he got away with a head-butt during the game. Expect a forthcoming suspension for that.
Of course, if you are looking for a bit of levity after that weighty failure from Spain, SportsNation notes that Spain wasn't the only team to lay an egg in the past 24 hours:
So now what? Well, the Dutch will face Australia and then Chile, and they almost assuredly will survive this group now. And the matchup against the fast, aggressive Chileans should be brilliant.
As for Spain, they had better fix their defending woes in a hurry, because Chile will be even more aggressive than the Dutch were. Spain now faces a very real fight just to move on to the knockout phase of the tournament.
Who thought we would be saying that a few hours ago?