- July, 11 2010 -
I think it’s fair to say that justice was served today. Overall, Spain were the better team and made the better effort to play the game the way it should be played – get the ball on the deck and pass and move. It was obvious from early on that the game plan for the Dutch was to disrupt Spain and to impose their physicality on proceedings. They did that very well, but at times they pushed the boundaries a little too far and it caused the game to suffer as a spectacle. The referee had a very difficult match on his hands but overall handled it fairly well. The Dutch probably feel aggrieved on one or two decisions but they should not really complain too much – some of their yellow cards could easily have been red.
Neither team got into a rhythm in the first half, which ultimately suited the Dutch. They were relying entirely on the individual brilliance of Robben to create openings. It was from a great through ball from their other star Sneider that created a great opening for Robben. Spain have to thank their Captain and goalkeeper, Casillas, for keeping them in it. Spain’s attempts to push forward provided Robben with a little too much space at times.
It is the first time a winning side has scored so few goals, with Spain scoring eight for the whole tournament – but on the other hand they only conceded two. You have to take your hats off to Spain – throughout the whole tournament they always played teams like Holland who came out to get them and break their passing game – teams who defended to the last, so full credit to the Spanish who were without doubt the worthy winners.
Overall they had the best squad, their substitutes - like Jesus Navas - made a huge difference and added a new dimension to their attack down the right side. It was his run and pass to Fabregas which set up the brilliant Iniesta for the breakthrough goal. Iniesta was superb today, his movement, touch and balance are a joy to behold – it was fitting that he provided the finish to win the World Cup for Spain.
While technically it wasn’t the best World Cup Final, the last 20 minutes of regulation time and the entire extra time period was hugely exciting. I am very glad it didn’t go to penalties and that there was a match winner from a good goal from open play.
Uruguay’s Forlan won player of the tournament and it was well deserved too as he had fantastic tournament. Uruguay deserve so much credit for their efforts – for many they were the team of the tournament also. Germany’s Muller won young player of the tournament and the Golden Boot. Even though he shared the top-scorer position with three others, he played the least minutes and so was declared the overall winner.
It’s a fantastic atmosphere here in soccer city and on the streets of Jo’burg. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my time in South Africa, and they were excellent hosts. The closing ceremony tonight was a fantastic spectacle. Well done Spain.