Friday, July 9, 2010
Raging Bulls & Octopuses
The 2010 World Cup Final will be competed by Spain and Netherlands; two countries which have never lofted that glittering prize, so a new name will be added to the illustrious list of World Champions.
For all their calm and patient build up against Germany in the semi-final, it was the raging bull Carlos Puyol, with a route one Iberian Express header into the back of the net from a corner which finally sealed it.
It's a shame that Germany won't be contending the final against the Netherlands, given the history those two countries have both on the field and off. But Spain vs. Netherlands is in many ways a neutral's dream. Two exciting, attacking, teams who like to push the ball around.
There is an adage, much used in Rugby League, that you must lose a final to win a final. Meaning that you must go to the pinnacle and experience the pain of defeat to understand what it takes to win it. The phrase does not hold much water for the Football World Cup; England, France and Argentina all won it at the first time of asking. But I still think does hold some truth and that the languid Spanish will be beaten by the Dutch, who can draw on the collective memory of the lost opportunities in 1974 and 1978 to spur them on.
The Spanish game may be technically adept but how often do the intricate movements come to naught? How hard do they work for such little reward in front of goal? Think of their young striker Pedro, through one on one against Germany in the semi-final, with Torres unmarked to his left. Poor Pedro could not even fashion a shot on goal- compare this to the free scoring and more direct Dutch who have managed to score all manner of fluky, freaky goals. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter how many passes you string together if you cannot bulge the old onion bag.
So yes, I think the Dutch will take the Cup. Although picking this one is a fool's game really. But since my own club, Wellington United, is allied to the Dutch settlers of Wellington I'll be an Orange man for the day. I am going against the Oracle however, since the famous Cephalod commentator Paul the Octopus fancies salsa over mayonnaise with his French Fries. At least a parakeet called Mani agrees with me. This truly has been a bizarre World Cup.