Monday, July 12, 2010

Spain crowned world champions!

First of all, I would like to congratulate Spain for winning the World cup. Spain were no doubt the best team of the tournament and deserved to win the championship for the first time ever. On the other hand, Dutch played a physical game and made some very sharp tackles, but to their credit were able to keep the Spanish midfield at bay for long periods of time.

First half

If I look at the first half of the match, it has to be said that there were quite a few tasty tackles on view, especially by the Dutch. I would surely say that the beast De Jong deserved a red card for his kung fu kick on Xabi Alonso. Van Bommel who, in this tournament has been lucky to escape with fouls wasn't far behind either though, this time around, was given a yellow card. The first half didn’t make for great viewing as the Dutch team forgot that it was a football game and even the Spanish team made a couple of uncharacteristic fouls. The plan of Dutch team to disrupt the game of Spain though worked as both Alonsos and Busquets struggled to make those probing passes. Actually, whenever the Spanish team came forward, it seemed like the Dutch would have three defenders waiting for them. The only bright moments of the first half was a header by Ramos and Robben's shot of his left foot which were both saved.

Second half

The second half made for better viewing as Iniesta started to come into his own as he created space and opportunities by making a few good runs through the Dutch defence. I also liked the young winger Navas. He is said to be suffering from homesickness, but him coming as a sub helped to inject some pace into the Spanish attack. Spain even got a chance to go ahead only for Ramos to hit the header wide off the mark. The Dutch team too missed a few glorious opportunities as Robben twice missed chances to put the Dutch team ahead. Sneijder made a great pass to release Robben, but Casillas perhaps made the save of the match and that too  with his legs! Robben had another chance when he was again one- on-one up against Casillas, but this time around, the lion-hearted defender Puyol pulled him from the back and Robben couldn't score the goal. Puyol perhaps deserved another yellow card which would have meant that he would have been sent off, but it wasn't to be.

Extra time

It was 0-0 by the end of the second half as the game went into extra time The Spanish coach Bosque went for the inspirational Fabregas as the sub who, repaid the faith of the coach by making a couple of good moves, but only for the Dutch goalkeeper to foil it by making another save and the second time around, he wasn't able to find the target. The turning point of the match came during the second period of the extra time when Heitinga made his second foul and was sent off. So, suddenly the Dutch team were left with just 10 players and were on the back-foot. Spain continued to penetrate deep into Dutch's defence and finally the moment came that everyone were waiting for as the wily Fabregas made the most of a Torres cross that Dutch's defence looked to clear, but it kindly fell for Fabregas who, made a precise pass for Iniesta to hit the winner and break the deadlock. The Spanish fans and players erupted in joy  as they knew that unless something dramatic happens, they have won the World cup for the first time ever. The Dutch tried their best for the equalizer, but it was Spain's day as they went onto win the coveted World cup trophy.

It can be said that the Dutch came out with a plan of disrupting Spain's game of looking for short passes and to an extent they were able to do it, but in the end, Spain had too much class in store for the Dutch team and deservedly won the World cup.

Stand out performers

In my view, the stand out performers of the match were both the goalkeepers. Buffoon may have been outstanding in 06 and Kahn in 02, but there is no denying the fact that Casillas is one of the better goalkeepers the world has ever seen. The Dutch goalkeeper, Stekelenburg may have been suffering from a hip injury before the match, but he showed no effects of it as he too had a superb game.

Iniesta, Robben, Navas, Bommel( in the end, credit has to be given to him for disrupting the game of Spain), Fabregas, Ramos(he did miss a header) and Puyol( though his lack of pace was exposed by Robben) also had good games.

The disappointments

Fouls- The game was littered with too many fouls and most of the time, it was attritional football. The Dutch team were successful with their tactics, but the beautiful football for which they are known for is now a thing of the past.

Spain not being able to convert chances- Spain play a brand of football that is good to watch as instead of looking for long balls and counter attacks, they look for short, precise passes and move forward, but the downside of their game is, they haven't been able to convert the chances they tend to create. In fact, among all the teams who, have won the World cup, Spain have scored the least number of goals.

Free kicks- I can't remember even one good free kick in the final.

Torres- Poor Torres, he came in with a big reputation, but wasn't match fit and when he came on as a sub in the final, he got injured. He would though have the consolation of knowing the fact that he was involved in the goal that helped Spain to win the World cup.

In the end, kudos to South Africa for organising a great World cup though, the standard of football wasn't always good.

As far as the champions Spain's team is concerned, they deserved to win the world cup and what more, they have a nucleus of a great side and should be able to dominate world football in the near future as well!


Shridhar Jaju said...

Yes, even I felt that De Jong was lucky to escape red after kicking Alonso on the chest (I doubt even Kung Fu teaches that)! But some of the yellows were undeserving as well. And I do believe that Puyol should have had his second yellow for having his arms around Robben as he looked to get one-on-one with Casillas.

In short, the English referee Howard Webb had a bad game. It was a weird game littered with too many fouls and too few chances. Least expected out of two string attacks! But Spain deserved their win!

greyblazer said...

De Jong is a beast! Yeah I agree that Webb didn't had a good game.

The Dutch team perhaps could have attacked more.

Shridhar Jaju said...

I forgot to mention in my previous comment... more than De Jong, I find van Bommel a beast (well trained by the Van Marwijk though). Its amazing how he was not suspended even once through the tournament despite the obvious dirtiness of his game!

greyblazer said...

It would always remain a mystery as to how could Bommel escape without getting a red card.