The Netherlands gained a measure of revenge for their FIFA World Cup final loss four years ago by demolishing Spain 5-1 on Friday.
Andres Iniesta scored in extra-time to give Spain a 1-0 win and the trophy in South Africa four years ago, and it appeared the same result was on the cards in Salvador when Xabi Alonso powered home a first-half penalty.
But the Netherlands hit back in stunning fashion, with Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben in scintillating form.
Van Persie levelled matters with a fabulous header on the stroke of half-time, before Robben - who fatefully missed a one-on-one with Iker Casillas in the 2010 final - gave Louis van Gaal's side the lead eight minutes after the interval.
Things went from bad to worse for the world champions when Stefan de Vrij nodded home a third on 64 minutes, before Van Persie and Robben netted again to complete a remarkable rout in Group B's opening fixture and cast further doubt over Spain's chances of winning their fourth straight major tournament.
Spain boss Vicente del Bosque forewent the temptation to start with Cesc Fabregas in the false-nine role that was so successful during UEFA Euro 2012, instead choosing Diego Costa as an out-and-out striker.
Costa's impact on their system was evident, too, as Spain opted for a more direct approach than in previous tournaments.
It was the Netherlands who created the first opening, Robben's inch-perfect throughball finding Wesley Sneijder, only for the playmaker - making his 100th international appearance - to shoot straight at Casillas.
Costa then spurned a couple of half-openings as Spain began to find their feet and the Netherlands' defending became increasingly desperate.
It was a last-ditch tackle that led to the opener, De Vrij's sliding challenge bringing down the lively Costa - with Alonso coolly converting from the spot.
Van Gaal's side enjoyed a good spell thereafter, but Spain threatened again on the stroke of half-time as Jasper Cillessen kept out David Silva's cute dink following a stunning Iniesta pass.
That miss would become all the more important soon after, Van Persie looping a superb diving header over Casillas after being picked out by Daley Blind's sumptuous long, diagonal ball.
Picking up where they left off, the Netherlands went ahead soon after the break.
Another searching Blind delivery found Robben, who controlled and turned beyond Gerard Pique - who could only deflect his effort beyond Casillas.
Spain suddenly had no answer to their opponents' new-found verve, Van Persie rattling the crossbar with a vicious strike.
The woodwork could not save Del Bosque's men soon after, though, as De Vrij atoned for his earlier misstep by heading Sniejder's deep free-kick in off the post.
Spain captain Casillas was visibly rattled, and an uncharacteristic sloppy error from him 18 minutes from time enabled Van Persie to notch his second goal of the game.
And the Netherlands were not finished there, as Casillas was forced to pick the ball out of the net again as the irresistible Robben took advantage of more lax defending to race clear and round off a scarcely believable result.
|Coach: Del Bosque|
for Diego Costa 63'
for Xabi Alonso 63'
for David Silva 78'
|Georgia 0 Germany 2: Reus and Muller on target for world champions|
|Northern Ireland 2 Finland 1: Lafferty inspires fourth qualifying success|
|Scotland 6 Gibraltar 1: Casciaro´s historic moment outshone by Fletcher´s hat-trick|
|Firmino hopeful of Copa America spot|
|Hummels considering options at Dortmund|
|Suarez goalless on Anfield return, but Balotelli nets stunner|
|Casciaro scores first competitive goal for Gibraltar|
|Fleetwood Town 1 Preston North End 1: Ball stunner claims share of derby spoils|
|Italy v England: Judge me on results, says Conte|
|Colombia v Kuwait: Falcao seeking another strong showing|
|Brazil 1 Chile 0: Firmino settles scrappy affair|
|Luxembourg v Turkey: Let´s kick on, urges Terim|
|South Africa 1 Nigeria 1: Zungu strikes late to earn draw|
|Smalling wants long-term United stay|
|South Africa 1-1 Nigeria: Last-gasp Zungu goal cancels out Musa strike|
|Italy call up Santon and Abate for England friendly|
|Switzerland v United States: Klinsmann eyes learning curve|
|Netherlands v Spain: Hiddink has players´ support, says Wijnaldum|
|A-League Review: Sydney end Wellington run, Adelaide suffer injury blows in Jets win|
|Henderson eyes long-term Liverpool future|
|I have nothing to prove - Bale|
|Brazil 1-0 Chile: Firmino gives Selecao battling victory|
|South Korea v New Zealand: All Whites looking to future|
|Japan v Uzbekistan: Hosts eye another win under Halilhodzic|
|MLS Review: Kaka nets in Orlando draw|
|Mexico 1 Ecuador 0: Hernandez, Corona help Herrera´s men to victory|
|Deschamps calls for France response|
|Dunga unfazed by pressure|
|Montenegro fan turns himself in after flare incident|
|Injured Messi not ready - Martino|
|Hodgson: Rooney not close to Charlton|
|Terim proud of Turkey|
|Hiddink happy with point|
|Euro 2016 Qualifying Review: Netherlands and Italy stage late escapes|
|Debutant Eder delighted with Azzurri bow|
|Argentina 2 El Salvador 0: Mancuello nets debut goal in straightforward win|
|Kovac not satisfied despite Croatia victory|
|Netherlands 1 Turkey 1: Huntelaar spares Hiddink from historic home loss|
|Ghana 1 Senegal 2: Konate brace downs Black Stars|
|Bulgaria 2 Italy 2: Controversial debutant Eder rescues Conte´s men|
|Morocco 0 Uruguay 1: Cavani spot-kick seals win|
|Al Sadd say talks with Xavi ongoing|
|McClean slams Sunderland´s handling of poppy controversy|
|Ghana 1-2 Senegal: Black Stars continue Afcon hangover|
|Cheltenham player diagnosed with cancer|
|Palace takeover talk premature - Parish|
|Odegaard becomes Euro qualifiers´ youngest starter|
|Job not done yet, Bale warns Wales|
|Israel 0 Wales 3: Brilliant Bale bags brace as Wales go top|
|Dunga backs Neymar to overhaul Pele´s Brazil goal record|
|League Two Review: Hartlepool climb out of drop zone, Cheltenham go bottom|
|El Salvador 0-2 Argentina: Martino's men triumph without Messi|
|League One Review: Canavan leaves it late to deny County|
|Freddy Adu signs with 11th team in as many years|
|Besiktas deny Cech, Danny rumours|
|Puerto Rico v Canada: Haber targets more momentum|
|Miranda not contemplating Atletico exit|
|Austin relaxed over England prospects|
|Manchester United should sign Ibrahimovic - Schmeichel|
|Ibe eyes Liverpool run-in|
|Bertrand called up by England as withdrawal of four players confirmed|
|A-League Review: Risdon nets stunner, Germano tames Roar|
|Panama v Costa Rica: Unbeaten run a secondary concern for Wanchope|
|Italy coach Conte shaken after death threats - FIGC chief|
|Barca fears over Alba eased|
|Schweinsteiger to start Germany qualifier|
|Akinfeev thanks fans after flare incident|
|Injuries offer Kane chance of first England start|
|Russian Football Union to protest following Montenegro abandonment|
|October comeback the target for injured Foster|
|Van der Vaart looks set to leave Hamburg|
|Bale focused on Wales - Coleman|
|Kluivert helps Curacao to victory|
|Hamstrung Alba returns to Barcelona|
|Macedonia v Australia: Confident visitors eye victory|
|Akinfeev to return to Moscow with Russia squad|
|Brnovic: Montenegro have no chance of qualifying|
|Russia had to resume after Akinfeev incident - Capello|
|Terim: Robben absence important|
|Brazil - Chile Preview: Winning is 'our only option' - Dunga|
|France - Denmark Preview: Olsen hits out at 'disrespectful' hosts|
|Morata keen to keep working|
|Canada 1 Guatemala 0: Haber heads Floro´s men to win|
|Difficult to find a place for Kane in starting XI - Hodgson|
|Difficult to find a place for Kane in starting XI - Hodgson|
|Montenegro-Russia abandoned after scuffle|
|Euro 2016 Qualifying Review: Montenegro-Russia abandoned, Spain and England win|
|Accrington Stanley 0 Newport County 2: Visitors up to sixth|
|Kane delighted with ´dream´ start|
|England 4 Lithuania 0: Kane enjoys dream debut|
|Spain 1 Ukraine 0: Morata settles tight contest|
|Akinfeev struck by flare as Montenegro-Russia game suspended after 30 seconds|
|Brazil v Chile: Winning is ´our only option´ - Dunga|
|Northern Ireland v Finland: Controversial fixture met with religious protests|
|Scotland v Gibraltar: Wilson out to dent countrymen´s hopes|
|Republic of Ireland v Poland: Pressure is on, says O´Neill|
|Georgia v Germany: Schneider warns world champions|
|PSV agree permament Guardado deal|
|France v Denmark: Olsen hits out at training facilities|
|Pienaar to return to Everton training|
|Hughes eyes silverware at Stoke after signing new deal|
|Portugal v Serbia: Carvalho vows to attack|
|Dynamo Kiev stadium partially closed after racism probe|
|Hull City fined £30,000 for misconduct|
|Balotelli must work hard for Italy return – Bonucci|
|Marchisio suffers knee ligament injury|
|Hughes agrees new Stoke City deal until 2018|
|Martinez hopeful over injured Everton trio|
|South Korea 1-1 Uzbekistan: Kuziboyev's debut strike denies hosts|
|South Korea 1 Uzbekistan 1: Kuziboyev´s debut strike denies hosts|
|Japan 2 Tunisia 0: Kagawa and Honda shine as Halilhodzic starts with a win|
|South Africa v Nigeria: Mashaba wary of bitter opponents|
|Japan 2-0 Tunisia: Kagawa & Honda shine in Halilhodzic's first game|
|Parma captain Lucarelli welcomes FIGC reforms|
|South Africa - Nigeria Preview: Mashaba wary of bitter opponents|
|Di Francesco ignoring Milan rumours|
|Melbourne Victory 2 Central Coast Mariners 1: Finkler leads fightback|
|Bale would be ´perfect´ for United - Scholes|
|Badstuber and Bellarabi out of Georgia clash|
|Rooney KOs boxing celebration|
|Allen thrilled with Welsh ´hunger´|
|Kovacic to miss Euro 2016 qualifier|
|Costa Rica 0 Paraguay 0: Dour draw marks Diaz debut|
|Reid ruled out of South Korea friendly|
|Deschamps talks up France despite defeat|
|Rooney chasing England goalscoring record|
|Brazil ´superior´ admit French veterans|
|Reeves sidelined for Finland clash|
|Confidence critical for rampaging Brazil - Dunga|