Spain have just lifted the World Cup trophy for the first time in their history. Deserved on the night and deserved over the tournament. They were the best team in a disappointing tournament…
They beat Holland 1-0 in extra time, the goal coming just 4 minutes from the end of extra time and what looked like an inevitable penalty shootout. Barcelona’s Iniesta was the hero. Holland are getting crucified for their ‘ugly’ tactics and aggressive behavior on the pitch but they did have chances to win the match themselves and in terms of chances created, it was pretty much 50-50.
Spain looked the more threatening but couldn’t break down a physically strong dutch defence. Arsenal & Barcelona are two clubs sides that spring to mind that will usually get kicked off the park simply because it’s the only way to stop them from winning. 9 times out of 10, it doesn’t work and quality prevails.
Luckily, for the good of football, Spain’s class showed and they nicked the win but i was actually disappointed, i wanted it to go to penalties. It’s a cruel yet entertaining way to finish a match.
Englishman Howard Webb was also a huge talking point. He sent off John Heitinga (Dutch defender) and issued a massive 12 yellow cards. Spain collected 5 of those 12 which shows they were no angels themselves.
photo credit: seriouslysilly
Overall though, Spain dominated possession (62.9%) and held on to the ball better than Holland (84.15% pass success -v- 69%). That’s a good indication of their superiority. Holland did well to get to the final though, it’s just a pity they couldn’t play the way we all know they can play.
At the start, i tipped Spain to win. Didn’t have a bet on it though, perhaps i should have… However, I did have a bet on a draw in 90 mins tonight which netted me over €100 😈 My one and only bet during this tournament too which makes it sweeter 🙂 I predicted 0-0 but wasn’t brave enough to back it at 8.0.. instead i took the draw at 3.5 before kick off.
Overall though, the South African world cup was disappointing. It will be remembered more for the vuvuzelas than the football. Memorable moments? Not too many. USA’s 93rd minute winner against Algeria, the heroic Uruguay hand ball / red card in the last minute against Ghana… there were plenty of poor refereeing decisions but on the pitch, not many magical moments or classic matches.
Strangest stat of them all? The only team not to have lost a match in this world cup was New Zealand who were put out in the group stages having drawn all 3 of their matches. Even the new world champions Spain were beaten by the Swiss in the group stages. Off the pitch, this world cup has been fantastic for Africa & South Africa. It has helped open the continent up a bit to the world. Pity they (as a collective unit) disappointed on the pitch though… Ghana the only real exception.