Sunday, July 11, 2010

2010 World Cup: Spain and Holland to make history

Spain and Holland are to write a new record in the World Cup history as they will clash in the 2010 World Cup final in Johannesburg, South Africa. Both countries have never won a World Cup, although Holland came close twice when they reached the finals in 1974 and 1978.

The Netherlands beat Uruguay 3-2 in the first semi-final on Wednesday (7/7), through the goals of captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Arjen Robben, and Wesley Sneijder.

Meanwhile, a day later (7/8), Spain upset Germany 1-0 through Barcelona defender Carles Puyol's header.

Arsenal stars Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie will meet each other in the final; however, they are in two different situations. Fabregas played only two matches in South Africa, and he was a substitute, while van Persie regularly started on the pitch.

Fabregas told the Sun: "If I'm lucky enough to get a start, I will give everything I have. But if I have to start on the bench, then so be it. All I can pray for is that I get a chance to play some part of this unbelievable game.

"If I'm not in the team, I will know deep down that Spain winning the World Cup is more important than Cesc Fabregas starting the game or not. So I will still be 100% behind the boys who do go out there. And I will be thinking about what I will do, what I must do if I come on."

The Arsenal captain heaped praise on his country's achievement of reaching the final and spoke of his anticipation of coming toe-to-toe with his club colleague Robin van Persie.

He said: "It is a privilege to be part of this Spanish team because we try to play the correct way.

"I know Holland invented Total Football back in the 1970s, and I know those players made the game beautiful to watch. But we try to play the same way and I think the world can see that. Against Germany, we never gave up our principles - pass, pass, pass and never stop trying to score. Eventually we got our reward.

"I have been texting Robin and we realised the only way we could face each other here was in the World Cup final. We joked about it after the early games and it is fantastic that it has now actually happened.

"It is great for us and it is great for Arsenal to have two players at the World Cup final."

Van Persie also sounded a similar response in an interview with FIFA:

"It’s always a bit strange to play against your colleagues, and we have been in touch via SMS a couple of times. Cesc is a fantastic player. I also find it really strange that he isn’t in the first team for Spain. I don't understand that at all. I think he’s incredible. I’ve been playing at Arsenal for six years with him and every year he’s improved. He’s the captain of our team and I have a lot of respect for him."

Netherlands vs. Spain match facts:

• This will be the seventh all-European final and means that a European nation will win the tournament for a record 10th time.

• It will be the first final to not include one of Brazil, (West)Germany, Argentina or Italy

• Netherlands go into the final unbeaten and if they are victorious on Sunday, they will become only the fifth side to register a 100% record in WC finals so far, joining Uruguay in 1930, Italy in 1938, and Brazil in 1970 and 2002.

• The Dutch also had a 100% record in qualification for South Africa and could become only the second nation ever to win all their qualifiers and finals games, after Brazil achieved this feat in 1970.

• The Dutch are now unbeaten in 25 successive international matches and have conceded more than one goal in only one of their last 14 games in World Cup finals tournaments (1-2 v Croatia in the 1998 third-place play-off).

• Spain are the first reigning European champions to participate in the World Cup final since West Germany in 1982 and are the 12th different side to reach a World Cup final.

• If Spain - who have seven goals - are to avoid becoming the lowest scoring winners of all time, they will need to net at least four. Italy (1938), England (1966) and Brazil (1994) all won the tournament with 11.

• Xavi has created 25 goalscoring chances in this tournament - eight more than any other player. He has made 560 passes at this tournament, completing 509 so far. Only Dunga (Brazil 1994) has completed more in a single World Cup tournament since 1966.

Germany Finished Third

Port Elizabeth (7/10) - Germany relieved their disappointment of failing to reach final by taking the third place.

They did the same thing four years ago in their homeland, beating Portugal for third place after losing to Italy in the semi-final.

And now they defeated Uruguay 3-2 (1-1). The German side led by Thomas Mueller's goal in the 19th minute, but Uruguay struck twice to reverse the position 2-1 through Edison Cavani (28') and Diego Forlan (51').

Marcell Jansen and Sami Kheidira saved the Germans' day by contributing a goal each, Jansen in the 56th minute and Kheidira in the 82th minute.

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