World Cup Day 2: Silva And Spain Stunned By Dutch

Paul Gilham

As ever with great Champions much is speculated and wondered about their demise, as after scaling such heights the drop is indeed a steep one.

Heading into this World Cup plenty was written on Spain, whether the widely-reported 'end of tiki-taka' and struggles of Barcelona this past season would afflict the Spanish side and see the end of their fabulous run which of course saw them lift the World Cup back in 2010, sandwiched between Euro titles.

Their opening game in the 2014 tournament was a reprise of the final back in 2010; a meeting with Holland but the outcome this time was far from similar to that turgid offering. Spain were not just defeated (as they were in the opening game four years ago) but utterly blown away, taken apart defensively by a Holland attack infused with purpose and intensity.

The trio of Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique suffered in particular. The movement and directness of Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben, aligned with this excellent Daley Blind proved too much and it was hard to imagine that this was a defence barely breached in recent times. The obituaries that will no doubt be forthcoming will be a touch premature yet Holland not only exposed gaps in the Spanish side but ran right through them.

For Spain, David Silva played the full ninety-minutes and was involved in plenty of Spain's play. Mostly featuring on the right hand side of a trio alongside Xavi and Andreas Iniesta, reprising his common role at City, he had a moment where the very nature of the game could have irrevocably changed. Played through by Iniesta with Spain holding a 1-0 lead, Silva was thwarted as his chip was well saved by the Dutch 'keeper. Silva also netted in the second half but his effort was ruled out for offside. According to WhoScored Silva was rated as Spain's third best player behind Alonso and Iniesta.

With Chile and Australia still to face, Spain will be confident of progressing - although their game against Chile next Wednesday takes on an even greater resonance - but it will be difficult to overhaul Holland to top spot from this position. All of which means that Spain, should they qualify, would likely Brazil in the last sixteen. Perhaps the obituaries are not so premature after all.

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