The Netherlands gained sweet revenge for defeat in the 2010 World Cup final by trouncing Spain 5-1 in the opening fixture of Group B in Salvador Friday.
Xabi Alonso had given Spain the lead from the penalty spot after Diego Costa was brought down by Stefan de Vrij before Robin van Persie equalized with a brilliant diving header.
Arjen Robben then fired the Dutch in front at the beginning of the second half before de Vrij atoned for his earlier foul on Costa to make it 3-1 just after the hour mark.
A horrible error from Spain goalkeeper Ilker Casillas enabled van Persie to make it four after 72 minutes and Robben burst clear of the Spanish defense eight minutes later to round off the scoring.
Lift-off for El Tri
In the day’s first fixture, Mexico overcame Cameroon, the weather and some more questionable World Cup officiating to win its opening Brazil 2014 fixture.
Oribe Peralta scored the only goal of the game just after the hour mark, rifling home after Cameroon goalkeeper Charles Itandje couldn’t hold Giovanni Dos Santos’ low shot.
Two wrongly disallowed Dos Santos goals had earlier denied the Mexicans a halftime lead their enterprising performance deserved.
Thursday’s tournament opening fixture between Brazil and Croatia was marked by a controversial decision to award the host nation a penalty in the second half by Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura.
But Peralta’s strike ensured any controversy would be avoided and El Tri would triumph on a sodden afternoon in Natal.
The win put Mexico second in Group A behind leaders Brazil which triumphed 3-1 on Thursday in Sao Paulo.
Cameroon, unimpressive and soundly beaten, is third above Croatia on goal difference in the four-team group.