In 2010 the Netherlands made it all the way to the finals of the FIFA World Cup before losing a heart breaker to Spain with a goal scored by Andres Iniesta in the 116th minute (Iniesta). It was the third time that the Netherlands had reached the World Cup Final but failed to win it and was a devastating defeat for the Oranje. In 2014 a rematch of the game occurred with Spain and Netherlands meeting in group play. As the top two teams in their group there were high expectations going into the game that it would be a tough and hard fought battle. The beginning of the game lived up to the hype with a back and forth game involving scoring chances for both teams. Spain struck first with a penalty kick in the 27th minute for Xabi Alonso. The Dutch team needed a spark to get them back in the game and allow them to get revenge for the heart wrenching loss they had suffered in 2010. In the 44th minute their captain and team leader Robin Van Persie would provide that spark with a spectacular diving goal (RVP).
The Spanish team had just finished a strong run with an excellent scoring chance missed by David Villa. Off the ensuing corner kick the Dutch swiftly moved the ball up the left sideline. After an out of bounds kick and throw in Delay Blind received the ball from the midfield line and saw an opportunity with a streaking Van Persie. With a brilliant boot he played a ball right over the defense to the top of the box where Van Persie had beaten his defender. Van Persie tracked the ball coming in and instead of playing a touch to control the ball timed a beautiful leap to connect his head with the ball. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas could only watch hopelessly as the ball sailed over his head and into the net for the tying goal. After the goal Van Persie sprinted all the way to the Dutch sideline to celebrate with his coach and teammates in awe of his spectacular goal.
Van Persie’s header would prove to be the spark to an improbable run for the Netherlands as they would pull away to a 5-1 victory that shocked the world. When later asked about the header Van Persie commented that he “did something which [he] had never done before. [He] kept looking at the ball while [he] was flying, until [he] landed with a massive bang with [his] face forward on the ground” (Clavane). IT was as if Van Persie himself was aware of the greatness of the goal and watched with the rest of the world as the ball popped over the head of Casillas and the fortunes of Spain and the Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup were changed.
Clavane, Anthony. “Robin Van Persie Reveals the Secret behind THAT World Cup Goal.” Mirror. N.p., 10 Jan. 2015. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.
“Iniesta Puts Spain on Top of the World.” FIFA.com. N.p., 11 July 2010. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.
“RVP, Robben Inspire Incredible Spanish Thrashing.” FIFA.com. N.p., 13 June 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.