Spain must not get frustrated if they find themselves up against defensive opponents and patience will be the key to success, midfielder Xabi Alonso said as the holders prepare for their opening World Cup Group B game.

The Netherlands are the world and European champions' first opponents in Brazil, a repeat of the 2010 final, and Dutch coach Louis van Gaal has said he will deploy a five-man defence to try to thwart Spain's fearsome attack.

Spanish matches almost always follow a familiar pattern, with Vicente del Bosque's men dominating possession and mounting wave after wave of forward forays, while the opposing team waits for a chance to counter-attack.