Monday, July 12, 2010

World Cup 2010 - Finals

Well after midnight in Istanbul and you can still hear a lonely vuvuzela here and there among the Es-pa-na! Es-pa-na! chants! Spanish support from the locals as well as the tourists was formidable. Yes, there were Dutch fans too, but seriously outnumbered...

Seems like everyone loves Spain for the way the play the game: more artistic than the Brazilians and now more efficient than the Germans! Critics would say that 8 goals in 7 games is not 'enough' to win the World Cup, but there is no doubt that Spain was the best team in the tournament [and over the last couple of years as well]. And for the first time in history, the team that lost the first game [to this day, still don't know how that happened] were crowned champions in the end!

It wasn't easy - of course - but at this level "easy" is not expected. 13 yellows and 1 red were dished out by Howard Webb [the Dutch were a little rougher than usual, but how else could you stop "La Furia Roja"?] and the team that played more football prevailed in the end. When Casillas stopped Robben one-on-one, I knew that the footballing Gods were on Spain's side. Somehow I also "knew" that the Dutch will end up with 10 men and Spain would score in extra time. Boy, but even though "I knew", it was still an exciting duel to watch!

It's not just a victory for Spain, but overall a victory for the beautiful game... as all the teams in the final 8 (and especially the final 4) played fluent, open, exciting football. I'll come back to this in a few days [with a short analysis of the teams] but it was great to watch these teams [last 4 especially, again] perform. Even Germany has adopted a 'less-German-more-Latin' approach.

And since I brought up Germany, a few words about the "consolation" final:

When there's not as much at stake, teams really open up and provide a great spectacle. That's exactly what happened between Germany and Uruguay. It could have gone either way, but in the end, the better team throughout the tournament took third place. Accolades for Mueller [who won both the Golden Boot and the Best Young Player awards]. Not bad for a player who's not 21 yet. I'm sure we'll see more from him in the future. Same kudos go to Forlan, who single-handedly [almost] carried Uruguay all the way to the 4th place. Oh, yes... he scored some amazing goals in the process [and what if the free kick in the last minute of the Germany game was a couple inches lower...]

While we're talking awards, Iker got the Golden Glove and Spain the Team Fair Play Award. Well deserved, again, on both counts!

Congrats again to Spain, TRUE World Champs!

More on the tournament later, as promised, but now off to more sight-seeing in Istanbul (yes, there will be a blog on this trip as well, eventually...)

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