Monday, July 12, 2010
Spain is officially the eighth nation to win the World Cup and best of all, they become the first European nation to win the prestigious World Cup in the Southern hemisphere. Andres Iniesta was brilliant throughout the match admidst very tough tackling by the Netherlands. He immediately dedicated his goal and Spain's World Cup triumph to the late Dani Jarque who died from a heart attack in August last year.
The Oranje battled hard and did whatever they could to disrupt the rhythmic passing of La Furia Roja. De Jong's "almost unintentional" kick aimed at the chest of Xabi Alonso was the pinnacle of nasty tackles that littered the whole game. Holland overcame Brazil by employing the same roughhouse tactic and so it did not surprise me that they would try the same again in the final. It worked up until the 116th minute when Iniesta was left unmarked on the right and he duly drilled a shot past Stekelenburg.
Spain started looking threatening as soon as Fabregas and Jesus Navas came on. The two introduced some much-needed attacking thrust and direct running needed to break down a Dutch defence excellently marshalled by Heitinga and Mathijsen. Cesc and Jesus brought a freshness to the final which meant that Spain exerted their superior possession play in extra time and was finally rewarded with a fantastic goal. The Red Fury's patience finally paid off and now they are finally World Cup Champions.
In an unfitting end to a very impressive tournament, the Dutch will be remembered for their "dirty" football rather than the supremely technical skills of Sneijder, van der Vaart, Kuyt and Robben. Heitinga was finally red-carded but Van Bommel, De Jong and Mathijsen were indeed walking a tightrope all match. Howard Webb had no choice but to dish out eight yellow cards to Dutch players as they truly tested Spain's desire to win the World Cup. It is perhaps an unfair assessment of the Oranjemen as they had reached the final with a 100% record.
The best team in the tournament had won the cup and Vicente Del Bosque, unlike Fabio Capello, was man enough to realise that the unfit Torres is not ready for this year's World Cup. That change in the knockout stages proved pivotal to Spain's final success. Having said that, it was heartbreaking to watch Torres breaking down yet again, this time it looks like his
hamstring groin may have given way. His struggles with injuries have been tough in the past two years but let's hope the summer rest will help his rehabilitation. I still can't believe how untested defensively Sergio Ramos had been all competition, the marauding rightback went on 31 solo runs and unleashed 11 shots at opposition goal during the competition. Nevertheless, he was quite simply the best rightback in this year's World Cup.
Like Barcelona, this Spanish side is now being touted as the best national side ever just as Barca is arguably the best club side in history. For the first time ever, this wonderfully talented team have united their country so much that sustained success may prove to be inevitable. The sense of collectiveness and team spirit within La Furia Roja are so strong that success must surely follow for years.
Vamos Espana! well....until 2014 in Brazil then....oh and by the way, I saw how Puyol was coddling young Cesc during the celebrations, expect moves by cash-strapped Barcelona for the Arsenal captain this summer. I am convinced that Arsene Wenger would have been tempted if Welsh Dragon, Aaron Ramsey had not suffered that horrific leg break.
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