The one and only World Cup Final is here. It comes around once every four years, and this year it is being held in South Africa.
This Sunday, two of the most respected and recognised national teams in the world go head-to-head in what should be a thrilling and fascinating clash. As you already know; these teams are the Netherlands and Spain.
Both have been ranked highly as favourites to win since the beginning, and tomorrow they will battle it out over 90-or-so minutes, in order to have the right to lift the World Cup Trophy.
The Dutch have now gone an incredible 25 matches unbeaten. They have also won every match in both this World Cup and in qualifying, a feat that hasn't been replicated since Brazil in the World Cup of 1970.
Holland came out on top of a group consisting of Japan, Denmark and Cameroon. In the Round of 16 they conquered over Slovakia 2-1.
Next, in the quarter-finals, they came up against heavy favourites Brazil. Going one down after 10 minutes, thanks to Robinho, the future of the Netherlands at this World Cup looked bleak. Brazil were playing as if they could run away with the show, but an own goal by Felipe Melo and another by Sneijder ensured the hopes of the Dutch were still very much alive.
In the Semi-Finals, the Oranje played Uruguay.
Uruguay qualified because of an illegal hand ball from Luis Suarez, which denied Ghana a goal, and likely a place in the semis. After a late comeback from the Uruguayans, the Dutch cemented their place in the final with an eventual 3-2 win.
Dutch Key Players
Wesley Sneijder- The Dutch play-maker had a cracking season for Internazionale F.C. Purchasing him from Real Madrid, for a mere 15 million, now seems like the steal of the millennium. He was a leading cause in Inter’s success in Europe, which eventuated in landing them the trophy after 45 years.
During the World Cup he has been formidable; so far he has five goals, a tally on par with David Villa of Spain. Not only is he the leading goal scorer, but he is the heart and soul of the flying Dutchmen.
Arjen Robben- R obben entered into this competition under much speculation as to whether he would be able to play; but since his return the Holland have added a whole other dimension to their play.
A danger from counter-attacks, Robben has the pace and dribbling skills that could unravel the Spanish defence. With his excellent eye for goal he scored 23 goals in his debut season for Bayern München, and has this World Cup scored two goals from four appearances.
If both can find the right chord during the match against Spain, you have the feeling that the Dutch could easily take the trophy home.
Beaten by Switzerland in their opening match in South Africa, Spain looked to have their dream cut short. Still, they progressed to the semi-finals, an achievement the Spanish have never before accomplished, where they conquered over the confident Germans.
Thought by many to easily claim the trophy in South Africa, the Spanish have reached the final, but it has by no means been won it. As of yet, the Spanish haven’t found the rhythm that blasted away all opposition in Euro 2008. This World Cup, they have been grinding out close 1-0 wins, and have not played all that convincingly.
Yet, it is still within their potential to make history, and bag the World Cup trophy.
Spanish Key Players
David Villa- On of the best strikers on the planet, has a tally of five goals this world cup and with fellow striker Fernando Torres lacking in form, Villa’s quality has been vital to Spain progression.
Spain despite controlling a vast majority of the possession haven’t made it really count. They have only scored seven goals, five of which have come from Villa. If he doesn’t perform up to his usual high standards it will make it hard for the Spanish to conquer over the Dutch.
Xavi and Xabi Alonso- The two midfield maestros have between them completed 863 passes. Spain play the way they do because of these two players. They are at the centre of everything. What do I need to say? Spain will sit and wait, and eventually if the Dutch are not careful, these two will break the Netherlands down, and will be forced to suffer the consequences.
Well, the Final is here and we have a quite a match ahead of us. Both sides are quality; boasting players such as Sneijder, Xavi, Robben, Van Bommel, Robin van Persie, David Villa, Xabi Alonso and Cesc Fabregas just to mention a few. With names like these matches are always difficult to predict, as any one of these super-stars has the quality to change the match on their own.
I expect Spain to dominate possession, and the Dutch to hold up fort, at least for the first half hour or so, though the Dutch will not want to make the same mistake as the German, who rarely attacked. After, the match settles in and the Dutch so good at going forward, offense may be their best means of defence, so they may opt to apply the pressure and attack.
Whatever happens; the teams will hopefully produce some fireworks, shows of individual brilliance and overall an exciting and intriguing match.
It is only a matter of time until we find out: but I say the match will end 3-1 to the Dutch; what do you think?