• Spain's news in English

Kick-off: Spain's first game a grudge match

AFP · 12 Jun 2014, 09:47

Published: 12 Jun 2014 09:47 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Andres Iniesta's strike four minutes from the end of extra-time in the Johannesburg final crowned Spain as world champions for the first time and now, four years later, the European giants clash again at Salvador's Arena Fonte Nova in the mouth-watering opening match of Group B.

With South American dark horses Chile and Australia still to come, a win for either side would set the group's agenda.

Captain Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Nigel De Jong and Dirk Kuyt are the five survivors from the 2010 final in the current squad and the Dutch have made no secret of their desire for revenge.

What World Cup Games are free on Spanish TV?

"It was a big chance for us to win the World Cup and we were really close," said Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar.

"It should always burn inside to make something right. To play against them now in the first game is a great challenge."

Veteran midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who will win his 100th cap in the match, said the wounds of that defeat were still raw.

"It's like a scar that hasn't yet healed. It always gets me down when I think about it," said the Galatasaray star.

Don't miss stories about Spain, join The Local on Facebook and Twitter.

As the double European and reigning world champions, Vicente del Bosque's Spain are bidding to join Brazil and Italy as the only teams to have enjoyed back-to-back World Cup wins.

The ever-loyal Del Bosque is expected to make just one change from the side which started and won the Euro 2012 final with Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta coming in for Alvaro Arbeloa at right-back.

- No fear, just respect -

Cesc Fabregas should start up front for Spain with Brazil-born Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa expected to make a second-half appearance from the bench.

"We don't have any fear. But we do have respect," said del Bosque.

"Holland are a well-organised team, well-coached, and I am sure they will make things difficult for us."

Spain can expect a hostile reception in Salvador, judging by last year's Confederations Cup when they were widely booed on their run to the final where they lost 3-0 to hosts Brazil.

Van Persie is expected to be fit, despite arriving in Brazil as an injury concern after sustaining a groin problem in last week's 2-0 friendly win over Wales in Amsterdam.

Coach Louis van Gaal has experimented with a 5-3-2 formation designed to close down Spain's potent attack and counter-attack hard.

But the future Manchester United manager used a 4-4-2 formation against the Welsh to keep the Spanish guessing which system he will use in Salvador.

Much relies for the Dutch on their attacking triumvirate of Van Persie, Arjen Robben and Sneijder, while their defence has been criticised as the team's weak link.

Story continues below…

Spain are wary of their opponents' ability to hit them on the break, warned midfielder Sergio Busquets.

The 25-year-old Barcelona star, who played in the 2010 final, said while most of the team that won the World Cup remained, Holland now have a lot of new young talent.

"We have practically the same players whereas they have had an infusion of new players and a new coach (Louis van Gaal)," said Busquets.

"They have deployed a different system of playing, with five defenders and relying on hitting their opponents on the counter-attack.

"We have to thwart their counter-attacks and also keep a close eye on their most effective players such as Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain’s Socialists lift veto on conservatives
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available