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‘Enjoy, enjoy!’

Arjen’s dream start is Javi’s nightmare

Arjen Robben and his Dutch team-mates made a dream start to their 2014 World Cup campaign on Friday as the FCB superstar contributed two outstanding goals to a 5-1 demolition of reigning world champions Spain. “It was a superb game. It’s something you have to enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!” Robben enthused as the men in orange emphatically took revenge for defeat in the 2014 World Cup final.

“I’ve always had a lot of faith in this team. We’re in very good physical shape and that’s paid off. And we can play football too,” Robben continued. The FCB wide player was a dynamic and inspirational presence throughout for Lous van Gaal’s side, but for the Spanish Javi Martínez was forced to watch the increasingly painful 90 minutes from the dugout.

On a rainy night in Salvador, Furia Roja actually made the more convincing start. Xabi Alonso converted a 27th minute penalty to hand the Iberians the lead, but a minute from half-time Robin van Persie levelled for the impressive Dutch. After the break Van Gaal’s men effectively stifled the Spaniards’ feared passing game and struck to deadly effect on the break. The tireless Robben twisted and turned skilfully to notch his brace after 53 and 80 minutes, with Stefan de Vrij (64) and Van Persie (72) also getting on the scoresheet.

After Manchester United hitman Van Persie was substituted on 79 minutes, Robben took over the captain's armband and led his team through to the final whistle on a memorable evening for the Dutch. “But we have to keep both feet on the ground,” the Bayern man warned, “we’re totally focused on Australia now.”