Friday, July 9, 2010

World Cup 2010 Final Preview

I was doing well with my World Cup blog, writing something almost every day. And then the Fourth of July holiday hit and I was toast. I started writing a recap of the quarters and it just got away from me as we went to the beach and a party and traveled home. Then the semis came and while I watched them in the entirety live, I was swamped at work and just didn’t have time to jot down my thoughts. So here we are 48 hours before a World Cup Final that will crown a new winner.

Who will win?

From the start, I picked Spain. As the tournament progressed I wasn’t so sure, even picking against them twice in my Yahoo! Pool. The game against Switzerland brought back horrible memories of the last FC Barcelona’s Champions League campaign, and I was truly shaken in my belief in La Furia Roja. Each game of the knockout has been a struggle to convert passing and movement into a goal. They were all over Portugal in the beginning but it took a rebound scramble to advance. Paraguay pressure Spain into a lot of mistakes, and it wasn’t until Paraguay tired a little that Spain was able to find the breakthrough. Against Germany they had loads of possession but did very little with it—Villa missed a chance, crosses went to no one, turnovers occurred perhaps out of boredom. In the second half they had the edge but still had trouble breaking down the German back line. Their goal came from a set piece of all places and they were able to hold firm.

Holland have risen to the occasion. They are have fused their talent with mental strength and are willing themselves to victory. There is not doubt of the ability going forward. I worry a little about them in the back. Could see Gio and Van Der Wiel be put under some real pressure, and surely Van Bommel will not get away with hacking down Xavi and Iniesta every chance he gets. Sniejder will be a factor and Busquets will have to be at his best to keep him contained. I wonder about RVP. When will he impact this tournament?

Simply put, Spain should have 60-65% of the possession against Holland, but Holland will counter and take what they can get. Will there be goals in this game? Based on the run-up, it will be Spain 1-0 or a 1-1 draw that takes the game to extra time. The key will be when the first goal is scored. If it’s early, I can see a relatively easy 2 or 3 nil victory for Spain, with Holland not being able to see enough of the ball to come back. The later the game goes 0-0, the more likely it will be a repeat of Brazil and Italy in 94. 0-0 and PK’s. Both of these teams realize this is their chance and probably won’t risk enough to grab the goal.

Should be a fascinating (and possibly frustrating) game.

No comments:

Post a Comment