As the two previous World Cup winning nations who made it to the semi finals made it no further this week, Sunday’s 2010 World Cup final will be settled between the Netherlands and Spain, neither having previously lifted the precious trophy.
The Netherlands booked their place in the final on Tuesday evening with an exciting 3-2 victory over Uruguay. Giovanni van Bronckhorst opened the scoring with a goal of the candidate strike, 40 yards out. That was matched with a spectacular long range equaliser from Diego Forlan before half time on his “weaker” left foot.
The Dutch looked in control of their semi final and re-took the lead through Wesley Sneijder before Arjen Robben’s header appeared to put the match beyond doubt. Maxi Pereira scored a stoppage time consolation as Uruguay were able to get the ball into the Netherlands penalty area afterwards but failed to equalise.
Bert van Marwijk has guided the Netherlands to their first World Cup final since they lost to Argentina in Argentina in 1978. 4 years earlier they lost to the hosts in West Germany. Sunday will be their third World Cup final, and for once they won’t be facing the hosts. The coach has done a great job in moulding the team together without the usual trouble between players that has occurred over recent years at major tournaments.
This evening, Spain lived up to their expectations as tournament favourites by defeating Germany 1-0 in a chess match. Both sides found it difficult to break down, with Spain limited to close range efforts and Germany rarely troubling Iker Casillas’ goal.
Once again it was a Barcelona player on the scoresheet as Carles Puyol headed home the only goal of the game from a corner with little more than a quarter of an hour remaining. There were doubts whether Joachim Low’s side would be able to fight back from a goal behind. In fairness, there wasn’t a great deal of time left for them today, but they did look short of ideas and were fortunate not to concede a second on the counter.
Unfortunately for me, my money was with Germany to qualify from this one. Not jumping on the bandwagon, I have followed prior to and during this tournament with great detail. They remain the most profitable nation for me in this tournament, despite tonight’s loss.
Spain meet the Netherlands for the first time in a major tournament as one of them will become the eight winner of the World Cup. On Saturday, Germany face Uruguay in the third place playoff match. Germany finished third four years ago.