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Spains 5-1 humiliation at the hands of the Netherlands on Friday came as a shock to everyone who follows the beautiful game. It also served as a reminder that at the highest level of the game, the margin for error is incredibly small. Up 1-0 in the first half after Xabi Alonso had converted a dubious penalty kick, Spain had a glorious chance to double their lead in the 43rd minute. An exquisite reverse pass from Andres Iniesta (pictured below) sent David Silva in alone on the Dutch goal. Unfortunately, Silvas finish wasnt up to the same standard as Iniestas pass. (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE) Just one minute later, the Netherlands equalized through a spectacular Robin van Persie diving header. With no apparent danger coming from the Netherlands, Spain set up in a very narrow defensive shape. (Spains opponents will do well to take note – exploiting this is a key to success against the reigning World Cup champs.) Yet just two passes later, the ball was in the back of the Spanish goal. The first pass came from Bruno Martins Indi to Daley Blind, who took up a wide position on the left flank. It was a free pass, with no Spanish player in a position to put pressure on Blinds first touch. (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE) Once Blind received the ball, Spains back four was vulnerable to the diagonal ball over the top to van Persie – because Sergio Ramos, the left central defender, fell asleep and got caught ball-watching. (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE) With no pressure on the ball, Blind was able to spot that van Persie managed to get a step in front of his marker, Ramos. (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE) The ball from Blind was exquisite, and it was matched only by the finish from van Persie - a diving, looping header over Iker Casillas in Spains goal. (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE) So what could Spain have done differently? In this situation, when the ball went wide to Blind, Gerard Pique was tight with Arjen Robben, the first striker – as he should be. His defensive partner, Ramos, needed to be in a deeper covering position, so that he could support Pique while also nullifying the threat of the ball in behind to van Persie. (CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE) It is only a matter of Ramos being 3-4 yards deeper, but at the World Cup, that is sometimes all that is needed to create scoring opportunities. Had Spains back-four been properly aligned (highlighted in yellow, above), Blind would never had played the ball forward for van Persie to run onto because Ramos would have been in a position to head the pass away. This goal, scored right before the half-time break, was a real blow to Spains confidence. From nearly doubling their lead a minute earlier, to conceding a wonder goal to the Dutch, the momentum turned in favour of the Netherlands going into the second half. The Spanish collapse after the break – where they conceded four unanswered goals – should have been prevented, though. The second goal was down to a combination of wonderful skill from Robben and slack marking from Pique and Ramos; the third and fourth goals down to mistakes from Casillas, with the fifth goal a classic counter-attacking move from the Dutch. It would be naïve to presume that this result – as shocking as it was – is an indication that Spains style of play is now ineffective. La Roja still possess a squad full of some of the worlds most talented players, and they will continue to employ their tiki-taka possession game to great effect. Players like Alonso, Xavi, Iniesta and Silva are still a joy to watch, and they will go into their next game with Chile knowing they must win, as a loss will effectively end their tournament. What it does prove, though, is that even the best are fallible on an off day. Chad Ruhwedel Penguins Jersey .J. -- Kevin Gilbride retired Thursday as offensive co-ordinator for the New York Giants. Riley Sheahan Penguins Jersey . Kelli Stack and Alex Carpenter also scored for the Americans, who avoided a repeat of Finlands upset at the Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y., in November. Finnish goalie Noora Raty made 58 saves in that one, but the three-time Olympian could stop just 40 of 43 U. http://www.penguinsauthenticofficial.co ... el-jersey/. They were expecting him there all along. The Pacers announced Friday night that George has been cleared "to return to normal basketball activity," a decision made three days after he was concussed in Game 2 of the Indiana-Miami series. Mark Recchi Penguins Jersey . "Yeah, ," he said. "They made me miss the free throw." A year ago, Lowrys post-game antics may not have been so well received but what was snide and snarky is now endearing quick wit. Matt Murray Penguins Jersey . - Tiger Woods only made it through 10 holes Thursday — this time because of the weather, not his back.The St. Louis Blues remain at the top spot of the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, holding off the Chicago Blackhawks in both the rankings and the Central Division standings. The Minnesota Wild have continued their rise in the rankings, both by getting healthier and adding left winger Matt Moulson at the trade deadline. The Wild are up to 11, when they were ranked 20th prior to the Olympics. Even with an injury to starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen, the Dallas Stars have moved from 16 to 13, following the lead of centre Tyler Seguin, who is up to fifth in the NHL scoring race. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals each climbed three spots, to 17 and 18, respectively; the Leafs with one regulation loss in the past seven and the Capitals with some decent additions to the lineup, with goaltender Jaroslav Halak and left winger Dustin Penner added at the trade deadline as well as top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov arriving from the KHL. It comes as no shock that the Montreal Canadiens miss injured goaltender Carey Price, but they havent recorded a regulation win ssince Price last started, a span of seven games.dddddddddddd So, even with the addition of Thomas Vanek, the Habs fall from nine to 14. Four wins in five games would normally be just fine for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but they are missing half of their defence corps due to injuries at the moment, which results in a fall from 11 to 16. The Winnipeg Jets have one regulation win in the past seven games and lost rookie centre Mark Scheifele to a knee injury, which knocks the Jets from 14 to 19. Among the rest of the Canadian teams, The Vancouver Canucks are down from 22 to 23 after dealing Roberto Luongo to Florida, the Ottawa Senators are also down a spot with left winger Clarke MacArthur sidelined. The Edmonton Oilers continue at 26, one spot ahead of the Calgary Flames. Both teams have respectable recent records, but they have created some big holes and moved out some productive players. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Cheap Canadiens Jerseys Cheap Predators Jerseys Cheap Devils Jerseys Cheap Islanders Jerseys Cheap Rangers Jerseys Cheap Senators Jerseys Cheap Flyers Jerseys Cheap Penguins Jerseys Cheap Sharks Jerseys Cheap Blues Jerseys Cheap Lightning Jerseys Cheap Maple Leafs Jerseys Cheap Canucks Jerseys Cheap Golden Knights Jerseys Cheap Capitals Jerseys Cheap Winnipeg Jets Jerseys ' ' '
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