Outplayed, Outmaneuvered, Outwitted

Carles Puyol Celebrates Scoring Winning Goal Spain World Cup 2010 Germany V Spain (0-1) 07/07/10 Semi Final in Durban FIFA World Cup 2010 Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Germany was outplayed, outmaneuvered and outwitted by a Spanish side that believed that slow is good, slow is nice, and that slow can win. The battle between the two teams was less about attractive football and more a war of attrition, of nerves, and mostly, of patience. The Germans were unable to play the free-flowing, counter-attacking style of football that brought them this far to the semifinals.

The Spaniards on the other hand, stuck to their strengths, backing up their defense with tie-clinching goals at crucial junctures. On the eve of the match, I felt  that if both teams played attacking football, Germany stood a better chance. The Spanish however, were resolute in defense and stuck to their game plan of making their midfield superiority pave the way to victory.

Quote of the day:
"There are 350 varieties of shark, not counting loan and pool." – L. M. Boyd

Now, the final is to be played on Sunday, the 11th of July, 2010. Holland and Spain, two teams who have never won the World Cup, will battle it out for soccer immortality. How fitting that the African cup should have fresh winners. A fresh continent and a fresh start makes for an even fresher finish!

Holland has reached the final twice before, in 1974 and 1978, losing to West Germany and Argentina respectively. Will the third time be a charm for the Dutch? Or will it be the Spanish Armada who crown themselves champions to follow their European success?

The last time the European champions and World Champions were the same team was in 2000, when France won the European Cup. They were world champions at home in 1998. That was Zidane’s France, a far cry from their current shambolic appearance at the finals.

Though I would love to see the Dutch win, the bookmaker’s favorites are Spain. Can the Dutch stretch their unbeaten run at this World Cup to another game? They remain the only team to have not lost or drawn any of their fixtures.

Sneijder and Villa are tied with five goals a piece in their quest for the Golden Boot. In all likelihood, the one who gains the boot also ends up on the winning side.

Who will it be? Your guess is as good as mine.

Have a great day!