5 Things We Learned From Spain 1-5 Netherlands

1. Robin van Persie can fly

Well not really, unless the greying Dutchman has been hiding some sort of Peter Pan-like abilities from us, but the manner with which he took his goal in the closing stages of the first half certainly hinted that he was being suspended from some form of invisible cheese wire.

The World Cup’s greatest diving header since Yordan Letchkov for Bulgaria against Germany in 1994 owed an awful lot to the fantastic cross from Daley Blind too, and it arrived at the perfect time for the Dutch, who were expertly able to wrestle control away from Spain in a match that it’ll be tough to top in this tournament.


2. Iker Casillas has lost his mojo

Whether it is because he hasn’t been picked for Real Madrid in La Liga in recent seasons or not, something is now suddenly missing from Iker Casillas’ game which must make dropping him a real possibility for Vicente Del Bosque.

As we saw with the concession of a goal to Diego Godin in the Champions League final, Casillas has suddenly developed a worrying ability to wander off his line at crucial moments. Van Persie punished him for the first goal here and then it all went downhill from there for the Spanish skipper.


3. Arjen Robben has exorcised the ghosts of 2010

Being one-on-one with Casillas was sure to bring back uncomfortable memories for Arjen Robben, as his missed chance in Johannesburg four years ago effectively cost the Netherlands the World Cup.

There was to be no repeat of that this time around though, with the Bayern Munich man producing two terrific finishes – the first of which was probably the most important goal of the game – to take the game away from Casillas and co.

Consider Johannesburg forgotten.


4. Manchester United could be about to get a lot more interesting

A simple conclusion perhaps, but after a season in which they watched their team serve up the kind of football that deserved to accompanied by grey lift music, Manchester United fans could be in for a treat when Louis van Gaal gets hold of their team.

A fast, vibrant side with Van Persie at the heart of everything, the Netherlands were brilliant here, admittedly against a Spanish defence and goalkeeper which seemed determined to help them out at every opportunity.

The look of disbelief on Dutch faces was a joy to behold.


5. Spain aren’t finished, but they aren’t the same

Just as one swallow doesn’t make a summer, one result doesn’t end an era, and Spain – who, lest we forget, lost their first match of the 2010 World Cup to Switzerland – certainly aren’t finished yet.

They certainly aren’t the same though, and this setback will take an awful lot of effort to recover from, particularly as they face a Chile side who can be equally as vibrant as the Dutch next up in Rio.