Netherlands handed Spain a heavy defeat to start their World Cup campaign on the right note. Catch all the highlights here (Matchcentre):
02:22 (IST): It's all over! The final whistle is blown and that ends a nightmare of a match for Spain. Netherlands can celebrate tonight as they erase some of the pain from the 2010 final loss.
02:17 (IST):Â There are four minutes of stoppage time. Torres fails to finish a good run and that about sums up the night for Spain.
02:10 (IST): GOAL! Arjen Robben hammers yet another nail in the Spanish coffin with his second of the night. Netherlands lead 5-1 with 10 minutes to go.
02:01 (IST): GOAL! Robin van Persie got a great chance inside the box and he finds the back of the net wit a low drive that goes into the middle of the net. Netherlands lead 4-1 in the 72nd minute.
01:58 (IST): David Silva has the ball in the net from close range, prompting wild celebrations from the Spanish players, but it's all cut short by a raised offside flag.
01:53 (IST):GOAL! It's in the back of the net! Stefan de Vrij rises high to meet a cross from the resulting set piece executed by Wesley Sneijder. He heads home from the six-yard box, straight into the bottom right corner. Netherlands 3 Spain 1 in the 64th minute.
01:49 (IST): Diego Costa has a moment of madness, pushing his head into Bruno Martins Indi as the pair jostle before a Spain corner. The Netherlands man rolls around clutching his head, but it seems that the refereeing team missed the incident entirely. Costa could easily have been hated by two nations had that gone differently.
01:43 (IST): GOAL! Arjen Robben has done it! Netherlands have the lead in the 53rd minute. Danny Blind puts a cross into the box and finds Arjen Robben, who latches on to it and strikes the ball into the back of the net. A genius touch to control and a turn that leaves Gerard Pique on his backside is all that's needed to create the space for a simple finish. Dreamland for the Netherlands.
01:37 (IST): Andres Iniesta had a good opportunity in the 50th minute as he fired from long range. His shot was directed towards the bottom left corner, but Jasper Cillessen was alert and made a comfortable save.
01:32 (IST): The second half gets underway and there is no change yet on either side. A bit of rain in the air.
01:28 (IST): Robin van Persie gave a demonstration of class to bring the scores level just before half time of a game that's offered high-class football and high-class entertainment, the Manchester United striker running onto a long ball from Daley Blind to loop a brilliant header over Iker Casillas. That strike equalled Xabi Alonso's 27th-minute penalty, scored after Diego Costa had allowed Stefan de Vrij to catch his trailing leg inside the penalty area. First blood had nearly gone to the Netherlands when Arjen Robben sent Wesley Sneijder running clear in the eighth minute, only for the midfielder to shoot straight at the keeper, and David Silva did the same shortly before Van Persie's goal. The score, tied at 1-1, is an accurate reflection of how this game has gone, and let's hope for more of the same after the break.
01:18 (IST): So it's the end of the first half. The score is Spain 1 Netherlands 1. Alonso's 27th minute penalty was cancelled out by van Persie's 44th minute moment of brilliance.
01:17 (IST): GOAL! Robin van Persie gets the equaliser. He jumped highest to collect a perfect cross from Danny Blind and planted his close-range header into the top right corner. Iker Casillas was helpless to stop it.
01:11 (IST): Some breathtaking passing moves have been on show in the last few minutes as Spain have really turned it on. Vintage play from Xavi, Iniesta and Silva has left Dutch heads spinning as they try and fail to keep up. It's not leading to penetration, however, with Vicente del Bosque's side seemingly content to play out the half.
01:09 (IST): The stretching Ramos proves unable to reach De Vrij's low cross from the left flank, but the same fate befalls the lurking Robin van Persie. The Netherlands don't look cowed by that Alonso goal and are bringing the game to their opponents. A swirling De Guzman cross from the right wing sails high over the penalty area, where it's picked up on the opposite flank by Wesley Sneijder. The Galatasaray midfielder looks up and lays the ball off to De Jong, who evades Busquets with a Cruyff turn before sending in a well-struck effort that's just too close to Casillas.
01:05 (IST): Even before the goal, the Brazilian-born Costa was taking heavy stick from the fans inside this stadium whenever he touched the ball. Now the jeers could be classed as a cacophony, but he won't care.
00:59 (IST): Stefan de Vrij brings down the twisting Costa inside the box, and the referee instantly points to the spot. The contact perhaps owed to the forward sticking out his trailing leg to ensure contact, but by the standards of this World Cup his conduct was exemplary. GOAL! Spain have the lead in the 27th minute. Xabi Alonso steps up to take the penalty and makes no mistake as he fins the back of the net. Spain 1, Netherlands 0.
00:56 (IST): Xavi's corner from the left loops menacingly towards Sergio Ramos, ludicrously unmarked at the back post. It's incredibly fortunate for the Netherlands that the centre back is unable to make a connection on this occasion.
00:53 (IST): The ball lands at the feet of Silva right in front of goal, and for some unguessable reason the diminutive playmaker does not shoot, instead laying the ball off to Iniesta, who proceeds to lose the ball. That was much more like the Spain of old, who preferred to pass the ball into the net from no more than two yards.
00:48 (IST): Xavi catches Bruno Martins Indi in possession and wastes no time in finding the run of Diego Costa. For a moment the striker looks set to shoot from inside the box, only to get the ball caught up in his feet and allow Ron Vlaar to make a desperate, excellent sliding tackle.
00:44 (IST): A trademark Andres Iniesta dribble takes the Barcelona man deep into enemy territory, where he's afforded the space to drive a 25-yard effort over the crossbar.
00:41 (IST): The Netherlands go agonisingly close to taking the lead! Arjen Robben slips a delightful ball through the defence as his side counters at speed, giving Wesley Sneijder a clear run on goal. The midfielder pauses for a second to collect his thoughts, and it proves fateful as Iker Casillas plants his feet and stops the shot with his right glove.
00:39 (IST): Contrary to expectations, it's the Netherlands who have excelled at winning and retaining possession in these opening few minutes.
00:36 (IST): Daryl Janmaat trips a Spanish player in the fifth minute, and the referee signals a foul. Spain get a free kick. Xavi takes it quickly with a short pass.
00:31 (IST): Spain kick off and we are away in this all important game of Group B. Spain playing in white instead of their usual red. With any luck this should be a cracker of a game.
00:27 (IST): The anthems being sung as the crowd erupt in joy at the prospect of these two teams facing off in this Group B opener.
00:24 (IST): The good news for fans of both countries is that neither Costa nor Van Persie have so far got injured in the warm-up. Which one of these two stellar goalscorers will grab the headlines here in Salvador?
00:22 (IST): The inclusion of Diego Costa means there might be a difference in Spain's tactics for this game. Recent years have seen Cesc Fabregas deployed at the tip of midfield, with nobody playing up front.
00:16 (IST): Netherlands will be looking for a good start and it will be a battle of wits when the two teams go against each other on the field. Meanwhile Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0 in their Group A CLASH. (Highlights)
00:07 (IST): No European team has won a FIFA World Cup that has been held in South America. Spain aim to break that jinx.
00:02 (IST): The players arrive at the stadium and Spain coach Vicente del Bosque looks confident of his team putting up a good show.
SPAIN WILL WIN THE WORLD CUP: STUDY
The Swiss-based CIES Football Observatory said it had taken an in-depth look at the career trajectory of all 32 squads due to lock horns in Brazil from Thursday.
"This approach has allowed us to predict a hypothetical scenario for the outcome of the competition, suggesting that Spain will beat Brazil in the final, with Argentina in third place and France in fourth position," it said.
CIES Football Observatory's experts, who apply econometric methods to all aspects of the game, number-crunched a vast haul of data.
They took into account league matches and goals during each player's career to date, as well as in the last two years, plus national team caps since 2012 and the total number of World Cup games ever played. (Read Full Story)
'MATURE' SPAIN UP AGAINST A DETERMINED NETHERLANDS
This combination of file images shows Spains goalkeeper Iker Casillas (L) and Netherlands forward Robin van Persie.
Spain's team is creeping up in age and its core of Barcelona players are coming off a forgettable season.
Yet coach Vicente del Bosque expects his defending champions to hit form quickly against the Netherlands in the FIFA World Cup on Friday.
The rematch of the 2010 final, won by Spain 1-0, provides Group B with a riveting opener that could have an impact on each team's chances in Brazil.
"This is a mature team with players in their prime. They aren't here for what they have achieved, but what they will achieve," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said on Thursday from the Arena Fonte Nova.
Spain is the tournament's most experienced squad, which means key players such as Iker Casillas, Xavi Hernandez, and Xabi Alonso could be playing in their final major championship.
But those veterans are not ready for the winning run they started at Euro 2008 to come to an end in South America. (Read Full Preview)
Story first published on: Friday, 13 June 2014 21:02 IST