The Netherlands vs. Spain
Date: July 11, 2010.
Time: 0000 IST (1830 GMT)
Venue: Soccer City Stadium, Jo'burg.
Ke Nako ! Yes, it's time for arguably the biggest football game on the planet - the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals! Amidst the controversial Jabulani and the Vuvuzelas, the world has enjoyed 30 days of some world class footballing action. And here we have two nations who will fight it out for football's most treasured prize ! The Netherlands will face Spain in what promises to be one of the greatest finals in years to come.
The Netherlands, having finished as runners-up in 1974 and 1978, will hope that it will be a third time lucky for them. Meanwhile, Spain will play their first final ever, with their previous best being a quarterfinal finish in 1960. And a win here in South Africa will be the first World Cup trophy for either of the nations, and a place in the exclusive club of the 'magnificent seven' winners, alongside Uruguay, Italy, Germany, Brazil, England, Argentina and France.
Road to the finals
vs Denmark 2-0 (Grp Stage)
vs Japan 1-0 (Grp Stage)
vs Cameroon 2-1 (Grp Stage)
vs Slovakia 2-1 (Round of 16)
vs Brazil 2-1 (Quarterfinals)
vs Uruguay 3-2 (Semifinals)
vs Switzerland 0-1 (Grp Stage)
vs Honduras 2-0 (Grp Stage)
vs Chile 2-1 (Grp Stage)
vs Portugal 1-0 (Round of 16)
vs Paraguay 1-0 (Quarterfinals)
vs Germany 1-0 (Semifinals)
Bert van Marwijk's team, now unbeaten in 25 games, are eager to shrug off the tag of 'nearly men' by emulating the peerless Brazilians of 1970 as the only team to have a 100 per cent record in both, qualifying and tournament itself.
Home to arguably the two greatest clubs in football history, Spain famously boast a dismal World Cup record, having never finished higher than fourth, their previous best being in Brazil '60. Having won the Euro 2008 crown, Spain could become the first team to win the World Cup as reigning European champions. With two defeats in 25 games under coach Vicente del Bosque, Spain are on a wondrous run and the coach, as well as the whole world believes their time has arrived.
The Oranje will heavily rely on their star-man Wesley Sneijder to break down the mighty Spanish and give the Netherlands their first FIFA World Cup title.
Barcelona's newest recruit David Villa, will be the key player for the Furia Roja. Like Sneijder, Villa will try and get on the scoresheet and win the much-coveted Adidas Golden Boot.
Maarten Stekelenburg, Gregory van der Wiel, John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Mark van Bommel, Nigel de Jong, Dirk Kuyt, Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie.
Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Joan Capdevila, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Pedro Rodriguez, David Villa.
An eye-candy for the neutral, this match promises to be an even fight. The Dutch will try and emulate their famous 'Total Football' of the Cruyff-era, whereas Spain will look to dominate proceedings with their tick-tack passing and heavy possesion.
But the Spanish will be a cut above the Oranje, with all the experience in their defence-line. Also, their compact and deep defending along with their superfluous passing make the Furia Roja the favourites for this one.
The Netherlands 0 - 1 Spain