The 2014 World Cup likely won't be the same as the 2010 World Cup. That was made clear on June 13, as the teams that played in the last game of the 2010 tournament played the third game of the 2014 tournament. But instead of Spain winning the championship over the Netherlands after a scoreless 90+ minutes, the Netherlands destroyed the defending champions by 5-1 in a massive opening statement.
It was the luck of the World Cup draw that the 2010 finalists were placed in the same group for the 2014 first round. In an even bigger twist, the Spanish and Dutch were placed in Group B, with the second place team set to face the Group A champion -- which will likely be host Brazil -- in the round of 16. As such, both Spain and the Netherlands really needed an opening win to get an easier route.
Things looked good for the Spanish early on, as they scored the first goal in the 27'th minute on a Xabi Alonso penalty kick. But the tide turned right at the end of the first half, when a long kick set up Robin van Persie for a leaping header to equalize the game. It wouldn't stay equal for long, once Arjen Robben scored in the 52'nd minute.
The floodgates opened after that, as Stefan de Vrij gave the Netherlands a cushion and van Persie and Robben made them even more comfortable with their second goals. After years of Spain dominating on the world stage, and after four years of the 2010 final hanging over the Dutch, everything was shattered in 50 minutes of playing time.
The Netherlands have a clear path to the quarterfinals, if they don't get a big head from this blowout. As for the defending World Cup champions, they need two straight wins just to likely earn the right to face Brazil, which was shaky in its own opening game -- but not to this extent.
With three championship game defeats in their history, the Dutch may be the most decorated nation never to win this tournament. If they fall short after a victory like this, it will be an even bigger disappointment. But by comparison, all the pressure is off of Spain, now that it has turned into a sizable underdog.