Salvador: Two goals each by Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben helped The Netherlands destroy world and European champions Spain 5-1 in a sensational World Cup Group B opener on Friday — a repeat of the 2010 final.
Spain, who lost their opening game of the 2010 tournament to Switzerland, went ahead with a 27th-minute Xabi Alonso penalty but Dutch captain Van Persie equalised with an audacious diving, looping header a minute before the break.
The Netherlands, playing with swagger and working tirelessly to close down the holders, went ahead in the 53rd minute when Robben pulled down a long ball from Daley Blind, delivered his trademark cutback and swept the ball home.
Stefan de Vrij bundled in the third in the 64th minute, Van Persie, who also crashed a shot against the bar, got the fourth following a blunder by Spain keeper Iker Casillas and Robben completed the amazing victory in the 80th minute.
Earlier, Brazilian fans greeted Costa’s return to his native land with jeers and insults. Costa opted to play for Spain instead of Brazil and was expecting a tough reception upon his return.
Fans jeered Costa with every touch of the ball, chanting his name with explicit words. Costa was played into the area before being brought down by defender De Vrij.