Thursday, July 8, 2010

La Furia Roja Outsmart Die Mannschaft With Setpiece Goal

It took an immensely powerful header to bring tears to German eyes. At that "twilight zone" period of the game, Carles Puyol rose virtually unchallenged to direct a bullet header past Manuel Neuer. There was no coming back for the Germans from that. Unaccustomed to coming from behind, the Germans will have to be contend with their outstanding performances against England and Argentina.

Perhaps Germany outdid themselves with those stunning four-goal victories in the earlier rounds. They succeeded in putting the spotlight on themselves and unfortunately, made all the would-be contenders take note of their strengths. You could say that Jogi Loew's exciting young side were definitely outsmarted by Del Bosque's tactical intelligence.

Carles Puyol represents the new ethos of La Furia Roja - a combination of intelligence, hard working, humility and dedication in a single flexible package. Spain these days are made of sterner stuff, not easily disheartened when things do not go their way. They have a zen-like patience to persist with their famed tiki-taka approach knowing full well that it will 100% bring goals and victories. The fact they are grinding out 1-0 wins while completely dominating possession is testament of their trust in their style of play.

Die Mannschaft could not get into their stride and it is apparent that Spain were better prepared tactically. Germany just did not get to grips with Pedro. In the 6th minute, the lively young Barca winger threaded a through ball to Villa who failed to convert due to excellent goalkeeping from Manuel Neuer. That sixth minute scare caused the young Germans to doubt their natural ability, hence made them sit back, defend deep and generally played into La Furia Roja's strengths.

When Spain had the ball, Schweinsteiger and Khedira went looking for it enthusiastically. However the Spaniards kept and passed the ball so well that Germany took a long time to get the ball back. When they did get it back, the Germans quickly lost possession in their haste to launch their trademark counterattacks. Klose, chasing his Ronaldo-tying goal, had to live on scraps and the German frontline cannot thrive without midfield supply.

Only the Netherlands stand in the way of "The Red Fury" now. A Dutch side who, like Spain, have found a way to overcome their internal differences and played to the level that their nation expects. The key Oranje players have a history and score to settle with Spain. Sneijder, van der Vaart and Robben will relish the chance to reassert that Real Madrid erred in sidelining them.

Against Spain, I think we should see the return of Torres to the first team. He makes David Villa shine by drawing opposition defender's attention away from the aspiring Golden Boot winner. Without Torres, El Guaje's effectiveness was stifled against Germany. El Guaje is Spain's only goalscorer and Del Bosque knows he must perform if Spain is to win the final. Besides, we could finally see Torres explode at the biggest stage of the World Cup.

A new World Cup winner is about to be revealed on Sunday, the quality and talent on display is as good as it can possibly get. It will be an exciting World Cup final in Soccer City.

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