At the end of day on July 11, 2010, two years of preparation, hard work, and dedication come to a front when two of the best teams in the world face off against each other for the right to be called soccer’s best country. This year is special as the 19th edition of the World Cup will crown a new champion this year between either Spain or the Netherlands.
The Dutch have blistered the field and didn’t lose a match on the way to qualifying in what is arguably the toughest confederation to come out of when UEFA staged its huge round-robin tournament. The Netherlands didn’t lose a game in the World Cup and are on the brink of winning their first one after making the title game twice before.
Spain won an unprecedented number of games in a row before being derailed by the United States in the semifinals of the Confederations Cup a year ago. When the Swiss beat Spain 1-0 in their opening match, Spain’s hopes were dimmed as no team has ever won the World Cup Final after losing their opening match.
Today, history will be made. Brazil in 1970 was the last team to win all of its qualifying games and World Cup games and the Netherlands are on par to equal that feat. That Brazilian team featured the legendary Pele. Today it’s Wesley Sneijder’s turn to do the honors. Spain has never been in this situation before despite having a soccer-crazed nation. Can they do what has never been done before with the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, and David Villa?
On a side note, Paul the psychic octopus of Germany has weighed in on this issue. After carefully weighing his options, Paul opted to go for the container with the Spanish flag on it that contained his lunch. The Dutch flag’s container was similarly adorned with a yummy treat but Paul must like yellow and red over red, white, and blue. You can see video of the eight legged divining rod here.
In any event, today’s World Cup match looks to be entertaining and exciting. I look for the Spanish victory 2-1. Casillas the goalkeeper will be the difference maker as he keeps the Dutch’s unbelievable shots out of his net for the most part.
End of the First Half
After a hard-fought first half that saw five yellow cards, both teams are putting the game on the line. Both keepers look solid as do the back lines for both. Players need to be careful though to avoid getting a second yellow too early in the second half to avoid going down a man for a lengthy period.
So far it seems that both teams want to score it’s just that they can’t. One extra touch here or a second sooner there and you’ve got a different score sheet than a scoreless draw at the half.
The Los Angeles Times provided information for this article.