We have reached the climax of the 2010 FIFA soccer World Cup in South Africa, and the moment of glory is fast approaching, when the winner of the tournament would be declared. The battle is between two European nations – Spain and the Netherlands. Each of the teams has given a very good account of themselves since the tournament began on the 11th of June; and come 11th of July, we shall all know who emerges champions.
When the tournament started on the 11th of June, not too many soccer enthusiasts beamed their satellites on Spain or the Netherlands. Their satellites had been directed toward Brazil, Argentina, Germany, England, Italy and France. All six countries have won the world cup at least once; and looking at the strength of their teams and the quality of players they came with, it was logical for them to have concluded that one of them would win.
However, thoughts, logic and wishes soon got separated from reality as some of the big names like Italy (defending champions) and France were eliminated in the group stage. England followed in the second round; Brazil and Argentina took their exit in the quarter finals stage, leaving Germany as the clear favorites after they bundled out Argentina 4-0.
On Wednesday 7th July, Spain ensured that the remaining favorite, Germany, was sent home, leaving only Spain and the Netherlands to decide where the world cup goes to this time around. It is now very clear that the world is expecting a new champion because the two teams remaining have never tasted world soccer glory before; none has ever kissed the FIFA soccer trophy.
But who wins this year’s edition?
The two sides have done remarkably well; they have shown class, discipline and technical efficiency. On paper, the Spaniards have an edge over the Dutch; they are the reigning European champions and the bulk of the team is made up of former UEFA champions, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Considering what they did to Germany in their semi finals match, they are surely not a push over.
The Spaniards have got a potent striker in the person of David Villa, with 5 goals in 6 matches; and also a good mid field and defense supported by Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Pedro, Charles Puyol and Sergio Ramos. They also have a goal keeper (Casillas) who has not conceded many goals from the commencement of the tournament.
The Dutch on the other hand, have a reliable striker, Wesley Sneijder, who has so far scored 5 goals; and a dependable mid field marshalled by Bronckhorst. They also have reliable attackers like Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie and Kuyt.
We therefore expect a very fluid, attacking football, balanced with tactical discipline from both sides. The outcome of the game would be decided by the technical crews, and also by the number of opportunities utilized by both sides. Wastage has to be minimized by anyone who hopes to emerge as the crowned champions. Selfishness on the part of the strikers has to be checked as well. Temperaments must be controlled, and all kinds of diving and false alarms must be avoided if they are to give their teeming fans something to enjoy; and they should be ready to win the match convincingly to the delight of all spectators.
We earnestly await the crowning of a new world champions come Sunday 11th July 2010. We wish the finalists best of luck in their quest to win the trophy for the very first time.