Iker Casillas had a nightmare against the Netherlands.

Iker Casillas had a nightmare against the Netherlands. Photo: AFP

Spain manager Vicente del Bosque defended goalkeeper Iker Casillas on Saturday as the inquest into the World Cup holders' 5-1 drubbing by the Netherlands continued.

The Dutch claimed emphatic revenge in Salvador for their defeat to Spain in the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa with Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben both claiming two goals each on Friday.

The Dutch scored four second-half goals without reply in their opening Group B match which leaves Spain needing to beat both Chile and Australia to keep alive dreams of defending the title.

Netherlands' Arjen Robben, right, races through to score during against Spain at the Arena Ponte Nova in Salvador. Click for more photos

World Cup 2014: Spain v Netherlands highlights

Netherlands' Arjen Robben, right, races through to score during against Spain at the Arena Ponte Nova in Salvador. Photo: AP Photo

The 33-year-old Casillas was caught off his line by Van Persie's looping header 90 seconds from the break to equalise after Xabi Alonso had converted a first-half penalty to give Spain the lead.

And Van Persie again got the better of the Real Madrid goalkeeper when he won a sprint to the ball following a heavy touch from Casillas to claim his second goal and Holland's fourth on 72 minutes.

But Robben could have easily finished with a hat-trick as Casillas pulled off a string of late saves with the Dutch attacking at will as Spain's centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique had games to forget.

"If a team loses it's not down to the performance of a single player," said Del Bosque when asked if he would drop Casillas for Wednesday's crucial game against Chile at Rio's Maracana stadium.

"Defeats happen as a result of weaknesses in the entire squad, but least of all because of the performance of Iker Casillas."

Spain conceded just two goals at the 2010 World Cup and leaked only three in their Brazil qualifying campaign, leaving Del Bosque at a loss to explain how they let in five against the Dutch.

"I don't find the words to explain it, Spain has never been a very defensive team, but we have always coped very well defensively. We were very weak against the Dutch," he said.

Ramos also backed Casillas to bounce back as Spain hope to rescue their campaign in their two remaining group games.

"The pressure and all the bad things fall even more on the players that have played the longest. I feel the same and we have to accept it.

"Iker isn't happy, just like the rest of us, but he is motivated and convinced that we can keep going in this tournament. When you lack that extra motivation or luck these things can happen, like in the second-half."

AFP