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2010 World Cup Final Preview: Why Netherlands will beat Spain on Sunday

#10 Sneijder Netherlands (Holland) Home 2010 World Cup Jersey (Size L)The bright Orange jersey is an international icon (the color was adopted as tribute to the Dutch Royal family, the House of Orange - Nassau).  It is symbol of the best kind of soccer and a country that embraces the best aspects of the game.  The entire nation is dressed in Oranje when the national team plays.  Unlike Spain, Holland is united behind this team and it truly represents all of the people.  The Orange Jersey is the symbol of the nation.

Team Legacy

Total Football, Johann Cruyff, Clockwork Orange.  This is their legacy.  Two previous trips to the Final in 1974 and 1978 led to bitter defeats against the home teams, Germany and Argentina.  Their only major championship came in 1988 at the European Championships.  It is a legacy of brilliant soccer without the trophies.  They also have a legacy of petty spats and dressing room friction.  As for Johann Cruyff, he is soccer royalty.  He was a genius on the field and introduced Barcelona to the fluid "pass and move" style of play, the style that the Spanish National Team now uses.  Which is why Cruyff has stated that a Spanish victory would still bring him great joy.  In reality, this game is Holland 1974 versus Holland 2010.  Win-Win.


Armin Van Buuren - The best DJ in the world is Dutch and he is a Trance specialist.  Although I can't prove it, the Dutch team has Trance playing constantly in their locker room. 

Good Karma

1.  Undefeated in 25 straight matches - Their last loss was September 6, 2008. 
2.  Best soccer nation to never win the World Cup.  They're due.
3.  Manager without an ego.  Team without an ego.  Where was the Dutch drama this year?  Where was the bickering between teammates?  Where was the coup against the manager?  The Dutch are renowned for their independent spirit and inability to coalesce into a team.  Not this year.  The only thing resembling a spat was when Robin van Persie argued with the manager, Bert van Marwijk, when substituted during the Round of 16 victory over Slovakia.  After the game, van Marjwick settled the matter and that was the last that we heard.   
4.  The players have ignored the critics.  The Dutch live in the 1970s when it comes to soccer.  Everyone is measured against the Clockwork Orange team that invented Total Football.  They also lacked belief that they could really win it.  This is the only team to have won every game in this tournament.  They know they can win.
5.  Beating Brazil.  When you take down the favorite, you have a major psychological advantage. 
6.  Howard Webb is the referee for the final.  Webb was also the referee in Spain's loss to Switzerland.  The Spanish press is not happy about it and that will also seep over to the players, chipping away at their fragile egos.

Bad Karma

1. Undefeated in 25 straight matches - Their last loss was September 6, 2008.  That's a remarkable run and it has to end sometime. 
2.  Arjen Robben's diving.  Divers always end up costing their team at some point.  They either gain a reputation and the referee starts swallowing his whistle (think Cristiano Ronaldo), or their playacting gets them a yellow card.  No matter what, they lose respect.  
3.  The coaching staff's matching suits.  There's cheesy and then there's Frank de Boer and Bert van Marwijk:

 4.  Spain woke up after the Switzerland loss and got another wake up call against Paraguay (I'm not sure they deserved to win that game).  Spain is controlling the flow of the game.  The ball sticks to their feet and opposing teams are simply worn out from chasing the ball and have trouble counterattacking.
5.  Paul the Psychic Octopus predicted a Spain victory.  This is very bad news.  This octopus has a perfect record thus far in World Cup predictions.
Starting 11

Maarten Stekelenberg - The goalkeeper has been excellent.  He saved the team against Brazil  (Kaka's amazing shot) and has done very well.

Defense:  Gregory van der Wiehl, John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen, Giovanni van Bronkhorst - This is the solid base of the team. 

Midfield:  Nigel de Jong  - Excellent tackler.  His job is to protect the back and get the ball to the playmakers.

Mark van Bommel - A bruiser and the most likely to earn a red card despite the fact that he only has one yellow the entire tournament.

Wesley Sneijder - 5 goals this tournament.  He has been outstanding.

Arjen Robben - He's very quick, dives too much, and has an incredible shot.  He is the best candidate to pin back the Spanish defense.

Dirk Kuyt - Kuyt is a workhorse.  He is the glue that makes this team stick because he'll do anything asked of him for the team.  Move to the left to make room for Van Persie?  No problem.  Play more defense to free up space for Sneijder?  Sign him up.  Unsung hero of the Dutch team.


Robin van Persie - van Persie is an excellent striker who has not seen enough of the ball this tournament, but he still requires teams to pay attention to him.  His role has become similar to Torres' role for Spain.  Smart movement off the ball by van Persie creates chances for the other players on this team. Still, I'd really like to see him score in the final.

Prediction:  Netherlands 2 - 1 Spain 

Arjen Robben will give Capdevila fits and Ramos will be stymied by Kuyt.  Spain will dominate the center of the midfield but end up on the ground with hard fouls from Van Bommel and de Jong.  Netherlands will score first on a set piece.  Spain won't deal well with the adversity and get hit for a second on the counterattack.  Finally, Spain scores a consolation goal at the end.  
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