Spain is the World Cup 2010 Champion!!! After 116 long minutes, Iniesta kicks one in past Dutch goalie Stekelenburg to win the tournament. They create history in becoming the first team to ever win the World Cup after losing their opening match, and the first team in recent history to win both the European Championship and World Cup. The low point is that Fernando Torres, who came in as a substitute pulled his hamstring a little later on, collapsing onto the field in agony. The match ends after 30 minutes of extra time, Spain 1 – 0 Netherlands. More in a separate post later on… Walski’s gotta get some shuteye!
Half-time Update: It’s been a rather cagey first half, which as Walski had predicted has been physical and more a foul-fest than anything else. 5 yellow cards in the half, three against Netherlands (Van Brommel, de Jong and Van Persie), and two against Spain (Puyol and Ramos). De Jong’s foul was the most dramatic – a kick to the chest of Alonso. And at the end of the first half, it’s even at 0-0.
Whichever the case, we’re now at the end of the 2010 World Cup, and in slightly less than an hour’s time, the final clash to determine who takes the cup home will commence.
This time around, it will be a final between two teams that have NEVER won the cup in their history – Netherlands vs. Spain.
In a few hours’s time, though, that circumstance will change forever – one of these two teams will be crowned world champions. Spain, in fact, have never reached the finals in any of their previous twelve tournament appearances. And then you have Netherlands, who played in the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals, but ended up becoming runners up on both occasions.
Germany, who lost to Spain in the semi-finals, won 3rd place after beating Uruguay 3-2 yesterday.
So will it be Netherlands or Spain prevailing in the final?
(analysis and prediction, in the full post)
From an analysis standpoint, both teams look to be quite evenly matched.
Head-to-head analysis between NED & ESP (from FIFA.com)
This may or may not be a good thing, as there is a possibility that they’ll cancel each other out, making it for a final that’s frustrating to watch. Between the two, however, it’s apparent that Netherlands plays a more physical game, committing more fouls (FC) and receiving more yellow cards (Y) compared to Spain. Throughout the tournament, Netherlands has also scored more goals (GS) compared to Spain.
In terms of passing, however, Spain has had an 81% pass completion rate, compared to 72% for Netherlands.
Strategically, Spain will probably try to draw the Dutch and out-play them on the passing game. The Dutch, on the other hand, will apply a more zonal defense strategy in order to shut the Spaniards out of their passing game. That’s Walski’s guesstimation of what will happen.
His prediction? Walski thinks that Spain have the firepower, the finesse and the patience to overcome the Dutch. But it will be a physical game, for sure. He doesn’t have a score prediction, but he reckons that it will not be a very high-scoring affair.
More later, after the game…