A strong contender for player of the tournament so far, Wesley Sneijder has been the driving force in the Netherlands midfield that has helped them rich their third World Cup final.
On Sunday, Wesley Sneijder and his 22 team mates hope to become the first Dutch side to lift the World Cup. In doing so, Wesley Sneijder would become only the second player to lift the World Cup and Champions League trophy in the same year, following in the footsteps of Christian Karembeu and Roberto Carlos.
Should the Inter Milan playmaker do so, he will become the first player the win the treble and World Cup in the same year after he won Serie A, the Coppa Italia and Champions League under Jose Mourinho in 2010. At age 26, there would be little else left for the former Real Madrid player to achieve.
The Netherlands’ number 10 is currently joint top scorer in the World Cup, along with Spain’s David Villa who his side face in Sunday’s final. The World Cup and Golden Shoe could be settled in the same match if either get on the scoresheet. Other contenders for the Golden Shoe are Germany’s Miroslav Klose, Thomas Muller and Uruguay’s Diego Forlan, each with 4 goals competing in Saturday’s third place playoff.
Wesley Sneijder started his scoring run in his second game when his blistering shot from outside the area against Japan was misjudged by goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and slapped into his own net. Fortune there, but there was nothing fortunate about his second, tapping into an unguarded net in their second round victory over Slovakia. His brace again Brazil caused one of the shocks of the tournaments in the quarter finals. His first was again fortunate as his cross scraped off the side of Felipe Melo’s head and into the net. He later headed home a second as he continued his quest as the unlikely Golden Shoe winner.
Alongside Arjen Robben in the Netherlands midfield, these two will be considered the biggest threat to the Spanish defence on Sunday with Robin van Persie looking unfit and still without a goal in these finals. Their distraction will take some of the pressure and eyes off Dirk Kuyt, the nations joint-top goalscorer in qualifying.
If the Netherlands can pull off a surprise and win the World Cup on Sunday, Wesley Sneijder will achieve what tennis fans may call a Grand Slam, and a success that may never be matched.