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Netherlands Routs Spain In World Cup Rematch


And you know who was actually almost at that game? Our Tom Goldman.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: It's a plum ticket to get to get into one of 12 stadiums showcasing Brazil's World Cop, but sometimes you can't be everywhere. So yesterday, the Sailor, a bar in Downtown Sao Paulo, filled the void.


GOLDMAN: It's a bonding thing to ooh and ah and cheer with strangers, and believe it, there was plenty of bonding going on at the Sailor from the tying goal in the first half by Netherland's forward Robin van Persie, when he went horizontal in the air and headed the ball over the Spanish goalkeeper to the pair of jaw-dropping goals by Dutch striker Arjen Robben, filled with dazzling ball handling skills and blazing speed. Seriously, this guy looks like he could challenge Usain Bolt in the hundred. After the deluge of goals zapped Spain with its worst World Cup loss since 1950, we chatted with a few of our fellow viewers oohers and ahers. Pedro Matos is from Portugal - Sally McManus from Sydney, Australia.

PEDRO MATOS: No sane person would ever say that the Netherlands could win this by a four goals margin.

SALLY MCMANUS: They were completely vicious. Like when they got the - they just didn't hesitate. They were vicious.

GOLDMAN: Vicious against a team that has dominated world soccer for at least a half a dozen years before showing signs of vulnerability and a loss last year to Brazil in the Confederations Cup final. And now the Dutch thwacking. Matos, McManus and a third friend wore the yellow jerseys of Australia, which is in Spain's and the Netherland's opening group - tough group. But the three Aussie fans took heart in what they'd just seen. Again, here's Pedro Matos.

MATOS: Spain was so bad. Their momentum now is so low. Their self, like, esteem as a team is a real low. So we might take advantage of that.

GOLDMAN: There's so much optimism at the start of a World Cup before reality sets in. Australia lost later in the day to Chile. Even the three buddies admit it's a long shot for the soccer-roos to get out of the round-robin group stage. Also, Spain lost its first game in the 2010 World Cup, then won it all. Indeed, the end of this next month of soccer may not match the start, but if yesterday is any indication, it's going to be a thrill getting there. Tom Goldman, NPR News, Sao Paulo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and on NPR.org.