Last night saw Spain
crowned World Cup Champions after a dogged final with the Netherlands. The final score 1-0 to the Spaniards courtesy of a 110 minute goal by arguably the championships best player, Andres Iniesta. 0-0 at full time, although the yellow card score was more of a talking point, with Netherlands clear front runners and some might wonder how they did not tot up more red cards.
The Dutch game plan has been heavily criticized by many pundits saying there is no place on football for the tactics employed, who have until now been one of the star performers of the tournament and played some excellent football. Sadly last night the beautiful football was left in the locker room and a bullish Dutch side took to the field intent on stopping the Spanish playing the game they know so well. To an extent the game plan was solid, Spain were unable to pass with the fluency they have shown to date, largely down to the Dutch tight marking and heavy challenges.
Referee Howard Webb has been criticized by the Dutch manager and received a barrage of complaints from the players. I thought he did very well in what was in truth an ugly game. Webb kept both sides at a full quota of 11 men for 108 minutes, when Johnny Heitinga was shown a second yellow and given his marching orders 18 minutes into extra time. How Nigel De Jong was still on the pitch after his karate style challenge on Xabi Alonso is beyond me and Webb must not have had a clear view of the incident. Planting his size 10’s into Alonso’s chest after 27 minutes was worthy of a red and made for unpleasant viewing.
In the end I think the best team won on the night and justice was served for football. Spain have won the World Cup for the first time in their History and become only the 8th nation to lift the trophy, joining the likes of Germany
. They have also emulated France
team of 98 and 2000 by holding both European and World titles at the same time.
As for the tournament as a whole, it’s been a mixed bag. A slow start saw some big name teams struggling for form, including Spain, who if you remember lost their opening game to Switzerland and become the only team to win the tournament after losing the opening game! Italy and France, both former winners fell at the first hurdle, England crashed out in the last 16 and Brazil were sent home at the quarter finals. South Africa sadly did not make the knockout stages, whilst adopted hosts Ghana made the quarter finals and were harshly denied a semi-final place by Uruguay. In the end however, the best team won and the hosts put on a great spectacle, not without its controversies however, we’ll all remember the drones of the vuvuzela and I don’t think many will forget the furore surrounding the Jubilani, or simple football.
Roll on 2014 Brazil.
My prediction – Brazil....Surely they cannot be beaten in their own back yard!