SALVADOR, Brazil -- The Netherlands thrashed the world champions 5-1 Friday in the World Cups first shocker, toying with an aging Spanish team that has dominated global football for the past six years and avenging a loss in the 2010 final. Emanuel King Jersey Store . Although Spain could still advance out of the group stage, the game may have signalled the end of the run by a generation of Spanish stars whose quick passing, "tiki-taka" style delighted the world and helped them win the last three major tournaments. Dutch strikers Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben both scored twice, including Van Persies diving header off of an audacious 40-yard pass. The ball looped over hapless Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas as Van Persie slid on his stomach on the wet grass before running to the sidelines with his fists clenched to celebrate what is sure to be one of the goals of the tournament. Defender Stefan de Vrij also scored -- his first international goal -- in a dominating second half that had the orange-clad Dutch fans in Arena Fonte Nova on their feet the whole time. It was the worst loss for Spain in the games showcase tournament since a 6-1 defeat to Brazil in 1950. "This was a total disaster," said Spain striker Fernando Torres. "We need to focus on winning the next game." The victory was particularly sweet for Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal, who was criticized for his decision to play five defenders. He insisted the formation had attacking potential as well as nullifying Spains fluent passing game. It did. And then some. Spains ball-control offence usually has other teams frustratingly trying to gain possession. This time, the Dutch fans were roaring "Ole" as their team passed the ball around and Spain chased them. Spain lost its first match in South Africa four years ago on its way to the title, and it could salvage tournament hopes with wins against Chile and Australia. But finishing second in the group, means facing the winner of Brazils group in a knockout game. Van Persie credited Van Gaals tactics of defending hard and firing long passes to Robben and himself. "We trained that way. And this is definitely down to him," the Manchester United striker said of the coach who will take over at his club next season. "If you see how he prepared us, and how he predicted the game would go, and you see how it went -- unbelievable." Van Gaal, in turn, highlighted his forwards performances. "With strikers like Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder behind them, things like this can happen," the coach said. It all started so well for Spain, with Xabi Alonso converting a 27th minute penalty. But it went downhill fast after Van Persie tied the game with a header shortly before half time. He connected with a perfectly weighted long pass by Daley Blind, one of a new generation of Dutch defenders flourishing under Van Gaal. "Unbelievable," Van Persie said. "For the whole Netherlands, this is a dream come true." The Dutch starting lineup included Toronto-born midfielder Jonathan de Guzman, who played 62 minutes and earned a yellow card before being substituted for Georginio Wijnaldum. Spain, which won the 2010 final thanks to an Andres Iniesta extra-time goal, exerted most of the pressure in the first half of the rematch. But they had no answer once the Dutch went ahead and continually hit them on the break. The final goal came after Robben weaved around Casillas -- who was crawling on the grass in desperation -- and fired into the untended net. His double was sweet revenge for Robben, who had a late chance saved by Casillas in the Johannesburg final and has struggled to live it down. It was tough keeping track of the second-half barrage of Dutch goals. Robben scored in the 53rd minute, reaching high to control another long ball from Blind, cutting inside Gerard Pique and firing past Casillas. De Vrij -- was called for the first-half penalty -- bundled home a Sneijder free kick at the far post 11 minutes later, and Van Persie scored his second in the 72nd in a clinical display of counterattacking football. Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque sat stony faced on his bench at full time, while Van Gaal walked onto the pitch to hug his players. "This is a very delicate moment for us, and all of us have to find a way to solve it," Del Bosque said. In addition to the 2010 world title, Spain won the 2008 and 2012 European championships. While Spain now has to regroup for its match against Chile on June 18, the Netherlands has to come back down to earth and then refocus for the next match, against Australia. "We dont have anything yet. Weve made a pretty start," Van Gaal said. "If you beat Australia, then youve made a good start." Brandon Jones Jersey Store .A. remained bitter for Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers on the long flight back home to New York. Don Wells Jersey Store .The Hamilton Tiger-Cat defensive back always has the required receipt. But he also walks around with a tangle of metal screws, rods and plates after breaking his neck in 2006 playing high school football in Louisiana.ST. LOUIS -- Carlos Beltran, Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals gave Pittsburgh a quick reality jolt. Beltrans three-run homer sparked a seven-run third inning Thursday and the Cardinals got seven stingy innings from Wainwright to open their NL division series with a 9-1 rout of the Pirates. "To be able to get out on a good first step and play well today I think is big for our guys confidence-wise," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "Gives us an opportunity to just take some momentum, and momentum is big right now when you talk about a five-game series." The first eight Cardinals reached safely in the third to chase A.J. Burnett, saddling the right-hander with the second-shortest outing of his career and putting Game 1 out of reach early. A sellout crowd roared and then settled in for an easy victory by the NL Central champions, making their third consecutive trip to the post-season. "Game 164 was rough," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "One of the things weve been good at is we dont overcook things." Lance Lynn (15-10) faces Pittsburgh rookie Gerrit Cole (10-7) in Game 2 on Friday. After a record 20 straight losing seasons, the Pirates are back in the playoffs for the first time since 1992. They entered their first best-of-five division series with plenty of momentum after beating Cincinnati in the wild-card game Tuesday, but Pittsburgh never threatened to rally against Wainwright and finished with only four hits. Pittsburgh also was sloppy in the field, committing three errors. St. Louis was sharp on defence, with reliever Carlos Martinez turning in the top play by slinging an off-balance throw to first to nip Russell Martin in the eighth. "What a play!" Matheny mouthed in the dugout. Third baseman David Freese prevented extra bases in the third with a diving catch on Clint Barmes low liner. Wainwright remained unbeaten in the post-season, going to 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA in 14 games, five of them starts. He allowed a run on three hits in seven innings, striking out nine without a walk. The only damage came on a homer by Pedro Alvarez to start the fifth. The right-hander tied for the NL lead with 19 wins this year and was 4-0 in his last five starts. He thrives on expectations. "Id love to be that guy," Wainwright said. "Its important to have somebody go out there that you can count on for sure." Wainwright also started the Cardinals big burst with a leadoff, full-count walk. Beltran, who has never reached the World Series, reprised his roole as one of the games greatest playoff sluggers. Cedric Killings Jersey Store. His 443-foot drive to the distant second deck in right field put St. Louis ahead and was the second-longest shot by a left-handed batter at 8-year-old Busch Stadium. "I almost got caught up in the moment," said Wainwright, who had a perfect view from second base. "I threw my hands up in the air as soon as he hit it, I knew it was gone. "Then I realized I had to run." Beltran has 15 home runs, 10 doubles and 28 RBIs in 35 post-season games. He also has scored 40 runs and stolen 11 bases. Leadoff man Matt Carpenter called Beltran "Mr. October." "Hes like our secret weapon when it comes to the post-season. He steps up every time," Carpenter said. "Some guys just have a knack for a big game and hes one of them." Beltrans 13 career RBIs against Burnett are the most of any player. Beltrans homer got the Cardinals going, and Jon Jay later walked with the bases loaded. Freese added a two-run single that cleared the bases when right fielder Marlon Byrds throw to the plate deflected off Freeses leg for an error. Burnett was 3-1 against the Cardinals this season but has gotten rocked in his last two visits to St. Louis, also giving up five runs in three innings in early September. In five outings at Busch Stadium the last two seasons he has a 15.50 ERA. "Hopefully, we can turn it around and give me a chance to get that ball again," Burnett said. "I was not able to repeat a single delivery all day, thats the bottom line." Hurdle was non-committal on whether Burnett would get the ball if the Pirates make it to Game 5, again in St. Louis. "I do believe that hes capable of going out and throwing a gem the next time hes out there, wherever that may be," Hurdle said. While the Pirates may have had trouble at the plate and in the field with the shadows, the late-afternoon start didnt seem to bother the Cardinals. "Everybody was seeing the ball good today," rookie Matt Adams said. NOTES: Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon threw the first pitch in the dirt, with reserve Shane Robinson making a nice scoop. ... St. Louis OF Matt Holliday walked and doubled his first two trips and had reached base safely in nine straight plate appearances before grounding out to start the fourth. ... The Cardinals claimed OF Joey Butler on waivers, three days after he was designated for assignment by the Rangers. Butler spent most of the year at Triple-A Round Rock, batting .291 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs. ' ' '
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