Netherlands vs. Spain: Winners and Losers from International Friendly

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2015

Netherlands vs. Spain: Winners and Losers from International Friendly

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Netherlands beat Spain again on Tuesday evening, following up their World Cup group-stage win over the same opposition with a friendly victory by a 2-0 scoreline in the Amsterdam Arena.

    A fast start for the Dutch saw Stefan de Vrij head in Wesley Sneijder's cross, before Davy Klaassen doubled the lead at the second attempt after just a quarter of an hour. Despite an improvement from Spain after the break, the Dutch were worthy winners over the 90 minutes.

    Here are all our winners and losers from the match.

Winner: Memphis Depay

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    The big threat on the night for the Netherlands and the most exciting offensive display was comfortably Memphis Depay.

    Playing from the left of the attack, Depay drove infield with frequency, running at the Spanish back line to either pick out an intelligent pass or get a shot away, though it was more often than not a pass to a team-mate that he sought out.

    Depay's dribbling and pace caused no end of problems, and he certainly showed he could perform at the highest level against this opponent—the summer transfer rumours will certainly grow after this showing.

Loser: Raul Albiol

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Raul Albiol doesn't seem cut out for this level any longer. He had trouble from the start of the match against Netherlands, with Spain sitting deep and defending their own third of the pitch for much of the first half, and found the pacy attack too much to deal with.

    He was closest as De Vrij headed the first goal, though the term "close" is used loosely, and was unable to move himself into the path of Klaassen for the second.

    With a number of younger defenders regularly playing well in La Liga at this point, Vicente del Bosque really has to acknowledge the time has come to replace Albiol in the squad.

Winner: Guus Hiddink

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    Peter Dejong/Associated Press

    It hasn't been plain sailing for Guus Hiddink since taking over as national team manager after the World Cup, with expectancy up following the semi-final run for the Dutch.

    Media and fans were less than satisfied after a couple of poor results in Euro 2016 qualifying, and after a last-ditch draw at home to Turkey earlier in the international break, the last thing he would have wished for would be a defeat to Spain—whom his predecessor dispatched so emphatically during the World Cup, of course.

    Instead, a high-tempo start and some in-form offensive players gave Hiddink a big win to take on and progress in the qualifiers with.

    ESPN.com writer James Tyler noted succinctly: "So much for Guus Hiddink in crisis."

    Hiddink was quoted by FoxSports.com as saying:

    We have to learn from those mistakes where we shot ourselves in the foot.

    It’s a shame we didn’t take three points at the weekend (vs. Turkey). But this (win) gives the team confidence.

Loser: Mario Suarez

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    Peter Dejong/Associated Press

    Spain have so many central midfield options, it's nearly impossible for fringe players to break into the selection. That said, when injuries or form allows the likes of Mario Suarez to get a chance, they simply have to put in a nearly faultless showing to keep their place.

    Suarez was overrun and outworked in the first half as Netherlands dominated possession 60-40 at one point, as well as being two goals to the good.

    He couldn't really affect the flow of the game, didn't do a particularly excellent protective job in front of the defence and certainly didn't offer the kind of progressive passing that a Sergio Busquets or Javi Martinez might.

Winner: Kenneth Vermeer

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    Peter Dejong/Associated Press

    Kenneth Vermeer was selected in goal again for Netherlands—the third different goalkeeper in the last three games for the Dutch.

    The Feyenoord stopper was in good form in the second half in particular, making a few good saves at close range and also standing up one-on-one when needed. He made a big recovery to prevent Pedro rounding him and scoring early on and gave a good account of himself.

    There is plenty of competition for the No. 1 in the side, and he certainly did himself no harm Tuesday.

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