RIO DE JANEIRO, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Paced by their talismans Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie, the Netherlands notched a stunning 5-1 victory against Spain in the Group B opener on Friday while Chile and Mexico defeated Australia and Cameroon in their first group matches.
In a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa, Robben and Van Persie both scored twice in a revenge-taking battle in Salvador.
Chile defeated Australia 3-1 in the other Group B match while Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0 in Group A.
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal used a 5-3-2 formation adopted in recent warm-ups while the reigning champs Spain fielded a more attack-minded squad with Diego Costa standing in the center position.
"We made five goals. We conceded one. To be honest that was not I expected in the beginning but the way the goals are scored was what I had expected," said Van Gaal in the post-match conference.
Xabi Alonso's penalty kick helped Spain to break the deadlock in the 27th minute after Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij brought down Spain center Diego Costa, who was booed whenever touching the ball as he chose to represent Spain instead of Brazil.
The defending champions could have doubled the lead in the 42nd minute but David Silva's close-range chip shot failed to curl past Cillessen. The Spaniards were soon punished for wasting the good opportunity. Dutch skipper van Persie levelled the score two minutes later as his flying header went past Spanish captain and keeper Iker Casillas following a long curling cross from the middle of the pitch.
"The pressure was on both sides. We scored our first goal in perfect time, just before the half time. After that we never stop going and that is what we talked to each other during the half time. Just keep going. Then we scored to 2-1. That was an even better time. And again we did not stop," said van Persie who was named Man of The Match.
After the two side tied at 1-1 in the first half, the match resumed in heavy rain. This time again the Dutchmen managed to find early opportunities. In the 53rd minute Robben met a long pass in the area. He flicked past Gerard Pique and curled in with his left foot.
With one goal in hand, the Netherlands tuned comfortably up to the counter-attacking rhythm and controlled the rest of the match. Van Persie's bullet-like right-foot lash hit the woodwork in the 61st minute. But the Dutch did not need to wait long for their next goal.
Defender Vrij managed to make up for the mistake he made in the first half as he touched in Sneijder's in-swing freekick at the far post to double the lead to 3-1.
Van Persie dispossessed the ball from Casillas and tapped in the open gate in the 72nd minute while Robben surged another solo run in the 80th minute as he flicked Ramos and rounded Casillas before making it 5-1.
The Netherlands still had several chances in the final minutes but the 5-1 scoring-line is good enough for the Dutch to taste the sweet revenge of the final loss in South Africa four years ago, when Spain won 1-0 after extra time to lift the trophy for the first time in history.
The Netherlands will face Australia in the second group match next Wednesday while Spain will be taking on Chile in Rio on the same day.
Alexis Sanchez gave Chile a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute after receiving a headed pass by Eduardo Vargas.
Only two minutes later, Jorge Valdivia made it 2-0 with a strike from the centre of the box, assisted by Sanchez.
Australia gradually found its pace in the 35th minute when Tim Cahill headed from the left side to the high centre of the goal.
The South American side sealed the victory in the 92nd minute through Jean Beausejour.
In the day's first match, a goal from Peralta awarded Mexico the victory over Cameroon in a match which saw three goals disallowed.
In a pouring rain day in the northeastern city of Natal, the wet pitch has made passing slick and increased the pace of the game early on. The tight first half saw two goals from Mexico and one goal from Cameroon disallowed by referee. But Mexico's continuous efforts were paid back when forward Peralta hit the target in the 61st minute.
With Croatia and hosts Brazil waiting at the next fixtures, both Mexico and Cameroon are definitely looking to start off on a good start.
Cameroon arrived in Brazil later than initially scheduled as players refused to travel following a row over bonus payments, but that has since been resolved, while Mexico's form is poor going into the first game against the Indomitable Lions as they lost their previous two warm-up matches without scoring a goal.
However Mexico had a better start by dominating the first ten minutes. In the 11th mintue, Mexico was awarded a free-kick near the box. Hector Herrera sent a delightful ball into the box to find Dos Santos before the No. 10 touched the ball home, but the linesman had his flag up.
Four minutes later, Eto'o sent in a cross that Choupo Moting finishes but just like on the other end, the play was ruled offside. In the 29th minute, Miguel Layun's corner is finished by Dos Santos but for the third time the goal has been disallowed.
Despite the driving rain both sides had great looks on goal and nearly found the opening goal on several occasions. The rain has let up a little bit for the second half. After a few exchanges between two sides, it's Mexico who took the chance.
In the 61st minute, Dos Santos saw his effort denied by Cameroon's goalkeeper Itandje, but the rebound was taken up by Peralta as he found the back of the net to put El Tri in front.
On 74th minutes, Peralta enjoy a stand ovation when he was substituted by Hernandez of Machester United.
Despite 0-1 down, the Indomitable Lions didn't go down without a fight. Their high pressure attack caused trouble for Mexico's backline in the final minutes. In injury time, a header from Cameroon's Moukandjo forced Mexico's goalkeeper Ochoa pull off a nice save.
Photo>>>Netherlands outclass reigning champs Spain 5-1 in Group B opener