It was a disastrous start for World Champions Spain in the FIFA World Cup 2014, where they were thrashed by Netherlands who won 5-1. In an exclusive chat with Aditi Tyagi of Zee Media, former Indian skipper Baichung Bhutia analysed the game.
Excerpts from the conversation:
It is hard to believe that Dutch won the match 5-1. They proved all the predictions wrong.
It`s a very shocking result. Especially Spain, World Champions, and even I had predicted Spain`s victory. And they lost by a huge margin but the credit should go to Holland. Both Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie were outstanding and they won 5-1 as a result of individual brilliance.
At half-time, the scoreline read 1-1 which ended but being 5-1. Was the Spanish team complacent? They didn`t arrive at the tournament at all.
In the first half, I believe both the teams were at par. After they were leading 1-0, David Silva missed out on an opportunity. But the equaliser which came from Van Persie, psychologically boosted the morale of Netherlands by the end of first half. But rightly said, in the second, Spain just lost their momentum and conceded four goals.
Ahead of the match, it was being said that Spain`s squad had many ageing stars, while Dutch coach was introducing youngsters in his team. So was it the `age factor` that worked against Spain?
I don`t think it was the age factor. If you look at the Spanish players, they aren`t very aged. If you look at Arjen Robben and Van Persie, even they too aren`t very young, it`s just that they were tactically very correct.
We had expected that Holland will mostly defend and counter-attack when required. That is exactly how they played and I don`t think it was the age factor. Spain had the possession for 60 percent but they couldn`t go for goals. No matter how much tiki-taka football you play, if you don`t have strikers like Van Persie and Arjen Robben, nothing else will count. In football, what matters is the number of goals you have scored.
One more thing which we saw was the helplessness of Spanish defence as the Dutch team breached through it on several occasions?
Yes their defence was poor and it was a very poor show from Casillas. He would want to forget this match as soon as possible. I also believe Pique and Ramos couldn`t delivere the kind of performance which was expected from them. The role of the goalkeeper is not only to save goals but to also organise the defence. We saw in the first and the second goal, Arjen Robben and Van Persie got too much time and space to go for their goals. I believe in first half, Spain`s defence was good but in the second half, it was nowhere to be seen.
Iker Casillas is hailed as one of the finest goalkeepers. He name is mentioned in the record books and was looking to improve his record, but yesterday his performance was pathetic!
Definitely, no goalkeeper likes conceding goals. One goal is fine, but conceding five of them while playing for the World Champions, being the skipper of the team, it was a forgettable match for him. His record for Spain in World Cup matches has been good in the past, but yesterday`s match was extremely disappointing for him. But I believe the coach will show confidence in him and he will put a good show in the second match.
Spain have to play against Chile and Australia now. What are your thoughts on that?
After losing their first match, obviously there is a lot of pressure on Spain for the next two matches. They will next play Australia - a team with the lowest ranking and thus the World Champions should quickly put their act together. Spain should do well against Australia and I believe they would play against Brazil in the second round and thus they should be prepared for it.
What do you think of Chile`s play. Even they could prove to be a big challenge for Spain?
It was an excellent start by Chile in the World Cup where they scored two goals in the first fifteen minutes against Australia. They have an outstanding player in Alexis Sanchez, who plays for Barcelona and had a good season for them.
He scored the first goal yesterday and also set the second one. The first half was very competitive as both the teams had plenty of chances, The score read 2-1 after the first half in favour of Chile. But in the second half, I believe Australia couldn`t capitalise on the chances which came their way and Chile sealed the game by scoring the third goal in the 90th minute.