The South Africa 2010 World Cup final brings together two teams who have never before played each other in major international tournament play. Other teams had more spectacular results and perhaps played more eye-catching football, but the unerring consistency of Spain and the Netherlands has given them each the opportunity of winning their first World Cup trophy and writing their names in the history books as the winners of the first ever World Cup to be held in Africa. A great game is in store between two European giants at the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg.
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Spain vs Netherlands Odds:
If the Netherlands manage to defeat Spain in the final they will have completed a 100% record at South Africa 2010. This statistic alone speaks to the wonders that Coach Bert Van Marwijk has done with a team that are usually known for their disorganization despite the talent which they usually bring to the big stage.
Once Arjen Robben made his first appearance in the competition for the first knockout round, this Dutch team were transformed into a side that were capable of mixing flair with the solidity they had shown in the group stages. Robben’s lung-bursting runs from the right-wing position are the cornerstone of the Netherlands’ attack and he will certainly give Joan Capdevila problems with his mobility and positional play. Sergio Ramos may be asked to track Robben as he has the speed to match the Dutch winger’s lightning pace but expect Robben to be the standout player no matter who is attempting to keep up with him.
Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder has scored the key goals that have taken the Oranje to the final. His late runs into the penalty from set-pieces and on counter-attacks often confuse opposition players who are stuck marking the striker while Sneidjer is given the space to win the game for his team. As top goal-scorer for the Dutch, Sneijder will have to be more involved in defensive play for this game against the strongest midfield pairing in the competition in Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
The big weakness for the Dutch team is their lack of pace in defense. Although this particular weakness has yet to be exploited, there have been moments in games that could have ended their participation at the World Cup if the opposition had finished with more accuracy. David Villa and Fernando Torres will make runs down the channels and try and pull the defense out for Xavi and Iniesta to get into position in the area. This could be the Netherland’s undoing in the final if their defenders sit back and don’t play a tight backline, because the Spanish players won’t be as generous as some of the Netherlands’ previous opponents when it comes to finishing.
Spain were many people’s favourites before the tournament started, so it’s not too surprising that they’ve made their way through to the final of South Africa 2010. It’s taken Spain a long time to be taken seriously in international competition but after winning Euro 2008 and now achieving a final place at the 2010 World Cup, it looks as if this is a team that has finally figured out how to realize their potential on the field.
David Villa is Spain’s top marksmen at South Africa 2010 with five goals. The Barcelona striker combines superb shooting ability, pace and a fantastic positional sense to great effect and his midfielders know that if they can get the ball to him anywhere around the penalty area, the team will have an opportunity on goal. Villa should have the beating of the Dutch defence which struggled with the positional play and speed of Brazil despite eventually winning against the South American team.
The midfield play of Andres Iniesta has come to the fore later in the tournament. Against Paraguay and Germany, the Barcelona midfielder was instrumental in creating chances and maintaining a tempo that the opposition simply couldn’t keep up with. When Xavi and Iniesta are on form, Spain are one of the best teams to watch in the world soccer. Their short-passing and movement is hypnotic and usually leads to a deadly final ball for the strikers to feed on. The winner of the midfield battle between Mark Van Bommel and Andres Iniesta will likely sway the match in favour of their team.
Both the Netherlands and Spain play neat, short-passing football and are very patient in looking for the final ball. This World Cup Final is expected to be low-scoring with play opening up later in the game when both teams will start to look for the knockout blow. It’s hard to see anything other than a Spanish World Cup Final win, despite the consistency of this Dutch side. Spain’s midfield is going to be very difficult to stop, making for a frustrating day for Van Bommel in the center of the park as Iniesta and Xavi will control the possession and create the opportunities that help Spain win their first ever World Cup.
Spain vs Netherlands Prediction: Spain 2-1 Netherlands.
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