Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben each scored twice as a rampant Netherlands humiliated Spain in a 5-1 trouncing in their opening group game, a rerun of the 2010 World Cup final.
It was the heaviest defeat suffered by any defending champions at a finals and the Spanish press did not refrain from slamming a side they have had the habit of eulogizing over for the past six years.
"Spain is like the remains of an empire that knows it is near its end," mused a columnist in the Barcelona-based daily Sport.
A jubilant van Persie, who scored one of the best goals seen at the World Cup, said it was one of greatest football nights for the Netherlands.
Spanish goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas took the blame for what he called his worst night.
Spain's hopes of rescuing their campaign and avoiding the fates of France in 2002 and Italy in 2010 in defending champions going out at the group stage, face a real challenge from highly-rated Chile.
The South Americans joined the Dutch on three points after beating a stubborn Australia side 3-1.


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