Toot toot! You hear that? That’s the sound of me tooting my own horn after I picked the Netherlands to win it all at the 2010 World Cup. While everyone else was focusing on South American teams, I knew that the Orange had it in them the whole time.
I’m sticking with my original pick, but read on for a preview of the final that will help you pick a side.
The cool thing about the 2010 final is that either way we’ll have a first time winner. If the Netherlands wins they will complete a perfect tournament, winning every game. If Spain wins they’ll become the first champion to lose their opening game and go on to win it all.
Spain comes into the final as the European Champions, but they’re not the only champs on the field. Dutch midfielder and scoring machine Wesley Sneijder plays his club soccer for Inter Milan which won the Italian League and Champions League this past season. Unlike the younger Uruguayan and German teams playing for third place, these guys know how to win the big games. Only two other times in history has one country been the European and World Cup champion simultaneously though, so the pressure is really on Spain to deliver.
The Spanish team plays for possession, with midfielder xavi making more passes than any other player. They pass a lot and let open shots develop over time, while tiring out the opposition. The Dutch also like to hold on to the ball but are more known for their surprising and risky shots. Both teams will compete to run the game their way, both teams are technically advanced and both teams know how to defend. Epect a well-played game no matter who wins.
For the Dutch it’s all about Wesley Sneijder, the likely Golden Ball winner if the Netherlands prevails. For Spain the big question is if this is the game where Fernando Torres finally plays like the star he is. The Dutch play midfield defense well and while Xavi and Andrés Iniesta have been stellar, Spain needs the rest of the team to play just as well.
Sometimes it all comes down to the keeper. Spain has Iker Casillas, who has manned Spain’s net for much of the last decade. Maarten Steklenberg, who plays his club soccer for Ajax in Amsterdam and continues a tradition of big tough Dutch keepers. Two of the last four finals have come down to penalty kicks. So these two could be more important than ever.
Like I said. I went with the Netherlands from the start and I’m sticking with them. Who do you think will prevail? Hit the comments and let me know and enjoy the beautiful game!