Spain 1-0 Germany
So, with the Dutch waiting for the victor, we got one of the most intriguing and hard to call matches of the tournament.
Torres was finally dropped and the effectiveness of the Spanish attack was clearly improved. Much better in the first were Spain, and only some crucial blocks and interceptions prevented them from launching a full assault on Neuar’s goal. As it was, they got only a couple of half chances, but it was enough to make the German’s nervous. They seemed content, following probably their worst passage of play since the Serbia game, to focus on counter attack, something Lahm very nearly caught the still-iffy Spanish defence with.
However, too many German players were quiet. Klose and Ozil weren’t doing much and it seemed as if everytime the Germans crept into the Spanish half, the European Champions were getting the ball back far too easily. Busquets in midfield was instrumental in this, especially in the second half. The goal seemed inevitable.
Puyol’s header was the reward from the immense pressure, and the punishment for the German failure to keep the Spanish back. From there Germany pushed on but couldn’t get the chance they needed. It’s a shame, after playing such wonderful football through the tournament, that Germany have gone out with such whimper. This was not the same team that tore England, then Argentina, apart.
For Spain, the reward for their dominance of most of the game is their first World Cup Final. The tournament favourites have made it to the biggest stage of the biggest stage.
In their way, the Dutch. We’re crowning a brand new World Cup champion. Both have an effective attack and dominant midfield. Two defences that are good on paper but prone to lapses in judgement. And so, so much pressure on both.
Spain are good. They contained Germany in an extraordinary fashion, and they have Villa, Xavi and Puyol on the top of their game. The Dutch have their own stars, Robben, Van Piersie and such, but they are weaker on the face of it. The Spanish have had a harder run in to the final, and I think that will stand to them.
It’ll be close, and might require extra time. I’m tipping Spain, but only by a goal. Especially if Torres stays on the bench.
As for the Third Place Play-Off, Uruguay will want it more. It’ll mean more to them, taking a major European crown.
Roll on the weekend.
Predictions: 1 Right (Netherlands), 1 Wrong (Germany). 50%. A fall. Darn it. Uruguay and Spain in the last two games.