Netherlands vs. Spain Could Be A Classic
This is the final my brother, Mike, was hoping for. After the U.S. was knocked out, he said he'd like to see a Spain/Netherlands final because both teams are worthy of a World Cup, but have never won it. Well, Mike, and many others who are looking for a potentially thrilling World Cup final, you have your wish.
Holland proved to be too much for a very resilient Uruguay team. Just when it looked like Holland was going to run away with it after Arjen Robben's pinpoint header into the corner made it 3-1, Uruguay answered with a stoppage-time goal, and had another sniff or two in the box after that.
To the naked eye, it appeared Spain absolutely dominated possession against Germany in their 1-0 win. According to ESPN.com, the possession was 51%/49% in favor of Spain. Maybe they were watching a different game than I was.
Spain played wonderfully, and could have easily gone up 2-0 if Pedro didn't hog the ball when he had Torres all alone inside the box. For his antics, Pedro received the hook about a minute later. In any event, Spain played very well, and deserved the win. I was a bit surprised by the lack of opportunities that Germany was able to generate. Germany will play in the third-place game for the second straight World Cup.
Looking ahead to the final, I hope both teams decide to go for the first goal, instead of playing overly cautious. I would be surprised if Holland went into a shell, but they may be forced to if Spain is just content to dominate possession like they did against Germany.
Both teams feature plenty of firepower, including some big names that have been noticeably absent from the score sheets during the World Cup – Torres and Van Persie to name a couple. Torres hasn't scored in the World Cup, and Van Persie has only has one goal.
I haven't had time to really research the matchup, but on first blush I think the biggest difference may be in Spain's ability to defend. They have the best goalkeeper in the world, and, just like Italy in 2006, they have only allowed two goals for the entire tournament.
It seems the only thing they have going against them is history – no team that has lost their opening game in a World Cup has gone on to win the tournament. Spain lost to Switzerland 1-0 in their first game.