Robin Van Persie Netherlands
Netherlands captain Robin Van Persie scores a stunning goal against Spain in their World Cup Group B game, 13 JuneReuters

Robin Van Persie scored one of those goals that made you sit up from your seat and ask yourself "Did that just happen?!," and from there the Netherlands made Spain look like a team playing in their first World Cup, overawed by the occasion with the nerves getting to them.

It was not a rookie team the Netherlands slaughtered 5-1 though, it was the defending champions, the team that have won their last three major tournaments, and the side that conceded just two goals in the entire 2010 World Cup.

Holland said they had a bit of revenge from the 1-0 extra time defeat to Spain in the 2010 World Cup final in mind heading into this key Group B contest, but even the most optimistic of players would not have imagined, even thought they were capable of imagining, the kind of annihilation that transpired at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador in Friday.

Expected to be a tight encounter, Spain looked on course for another victory over their European rivals with a goal from Xabi Alonso. However, that goal would be the only moment of joy for Spain, as Van Persie levelled things up with an absolute beauty, a goal which will take some beating in this tournament, before the Dutch ran riot with four more goals, one more from RVP, two from Arjen Robben and another from Stefan De Vrij.

The result, if anything, was a little flattering on Spain, who could have easily conceded two or three more, as Louis Van Gaal's men put on an attacking master class, a master class which exposed the seriously soft underbelly of this Spanish side to devastating I-cannot-believe-that-just-happened effect.

It was a cracking match, as both Spain and Netherlands gave everyone their money's worth from minute one.

Spain, as expected, had plenty of possession, but the Netherlands did not hide like a shrinking violet, either, going forward at every opportunity, particularly trying to catch Spain out with long balls over the top.

Goalmouth chances did not come every minute, but the ones that did were outstanding ones, with Wesley Sneijder missing a sitter, by his exalted standards, in the eighth minute. Spain gave the ball away from a throw-in, allowing Robben to slip in a nice through ball for Sneijder, who took a couple of touches but just could not find way past Iker Casillas, with the Spanish captain sticking his right hand out and batting the ball away.

Spain looked to escape past the Netherlands defence through Diego Costa, who was his usual busy self, threatening to break free on a couple of occasions, even if he did look a little short on the understanding stakes with his new international teammates.

Xavi, in a more advanced position than he would normally play at Barcelona, and Andres Iniesta were looking to beat that tiki-taka tune to great effect in the middle of the park, and it was Xavi who created the opening that led to the penalty, playing Costa in with a peach of a curved through ball. The Brazil-born striker, booed at every touch by the home fans, looked to cut inside to take a shot, before going down under the trailing leg of De Vrij – Costa did go down easily, but it is difficult to argue the penalty decision, unlike the one on the opening day.

Alonso stepped up and made no mistake, planting the ball into the bottom-left corner to give Spain the precious opening goal.

Holland, from four years ago, might have found it difficult to get back into the game, and Spain of the last World Cup would never have allowed the Dutch a route back; but then these two sides are quite different now, even if the faces at Spain might look the same.

Holland kept at it, sticking to their plan of playing that early ball, through or over the Spain defence, with plenty of attacks coming from the left side via Daley Blind and Robben.

It was Blind who would provide the assist for the screamer from Van Persie, raking a brilliant long ball from the left, over the static Spain back-four, for his captain. The stage seemed set for Van Persie to score a 1998 Dennis Bergampesque goal by bringing the ball down, but the Manchester United man, after taking a quick look to see where Casillas was, decided to use his head to great effect, producing a blinding looping header which zoomed into the back of the net over Casillas with awesome precision.

That goal, a minute from halftime, and a minute after David Silva had missed a one-on-one chance at the other end, changed the nature of the game completely, with the Dutch now believing themselves well capable of toppling the defending champions.

Seven minutes into the second 45 and the Netherlands were in the lead. The ball was given away by Spain on the halfway line, and suddenly Holland were pinging a few quickfire passes with the ball finding its way to Robben, who controlled the ball perfectly, before turning Gerard Pique inside out and then firing a low drive past his former Real Madrid teammate Casillas.

Spain were clearly rattled by the equaliser, and the second goal only made them more antsy, with Costa pressing that "are you crazy" button by head-butting Bruno Martins Indi and extremely luckily escaping a red card.

Netherlands were on fire now, waiting to pounce at every opportunity and Van Persie nearly had a second spectacular goal to his name on the hour mark, with the former Arsenal striker rattling the crossbar with a wicked right-footed shot from an angle.

The knockout blow would be landed soon enough, though, as De Vrij made up for conceding the penalty by heading/kneeing in at the far post off a freekick from Sneijder.

Spain thought they had answered back immediately with Silva tapping in a rebound off a save from a Pedro header, but the goal was chalked off correctly for offside.

It was game, set, match and fairy tale time for Holland on 72 minutes with Casillas handing Van Persie his second goal of the game on a plate by miscontrolling a simple backpass, and with it allowing the Dutch skipper to slot in easily.

The Netherlands were not done, though, far from it. Robben, seeing his good mate Van Persie knock in his second goal, decided to grab a brace of his own, breaking clear off a brilliant pass, and then showing power and pace which would have even put Usain Bolt to shade, before showing all the calmness in front of goal, that he failed to do in that final four years ago, to twist that knife a little deeper into Spain, who suffered their heaviest defeat in over five decades.