Holland versus Spain: A preview of sorts (World Cup Braindump #13)

by Steve

Not long to go now until the 2010 World Cup Final – Holland versus Spain. I’m rather chuffed that I had backed both sides prior to the tournament, and stand to make a little money no matter who wins. But beyond that, and more importantly, I’m looking forward to what should be a fascinating game.All signs point to a Spanish victory. They showed against a strong Germany side that they are capable of completely controlling a game. The intricate passes may seem annoying to some, a form of footballing procrastination, but those critics are missing the point. Spain, by keeping possession, and generally in the opposition half, aren’t necessarily trying to score – they are stopping their opponents scoring.

But simply, if Spain have the ball, they can’t concede. If they lose the ball further up the pitch, they are in less danger than if they sat deep.

So, can Holland counter it?

They certainly have players capable of a moment of magic, but the longer the game stays 0-0, the more likely they are to tire, and get frustrated. This is when an incredibly patient Spain side can go for the killer blow – just look at how many games they have won with a late goal. Germany, Paraguay and Portugal have all been picked off with goals in the last half-hour.

And once Spain score, it generally looks like game over. Any side that can keep the ball that effectively are pretty impossible to score against.

However, if Holland score, can Spain get back in the game with their patient, methodical approach? Or will the tactics that brought them to the final actually be the undoing of them? From a neutral standpoint I’d love to see Holland get an early goal to see how Spain would react, and to see if they can play with greater urgency and purpose if the game demands it.

Either way, I think it might be a close, edgy and engrossing game, rather than a barnstorming effort. I hope and expect it to be a fitting end to the World Cup. It may even be one of those rare finals that end up being the best game of the tournament. Fingers crossed!