Sunday, July 11, 2010

Spain Wins!

The World Cup is done - Spain won, beating the Netherlands 1-0 thanks to Iniesta's goal some 26 minutes into extra time. Not the prettiest game, I suppose, but a dramatic one, hard fought and tense. I have to admit that I am far less offended by the lack of aesthetics than a lot of commentators seem to be - ESPN's gang were carrying on to no end about how bad it was, but it seems to me, Holland did what other teams couldn't do - dictate the terms of play, a bit, to Spain. SPain usually imposes itself on the game completely - Germany let them - teams like Paraguay and Portugal were naturally defensive minded, and so let Spain control possession and wait for the opening. Holland never got much offense going, but they also did well to disrupt the Spanish attack. I'm sure they would rather have done it without the fouls and cards, but if it takes fouls and cards to throw a team off its game, then, that's what you do. Though it's certainly justice that the cards probably beat the Dutch in the end - Spain getting their goal after Holland went down a man. It was a much more interesting second half, as both teams actually seemed to become more offensively minded as the game went on (as noted in the Zonal Marking post) - overall, I'm not going to complain. I wish the Dutch had won, but am quite satisfied to see Spain win - they certainly deserved it, looking better and better the longer the tournament went. Their defense has been noted - giving up 2 goals in the tourney - what impressed me, in game after game, is how good they were at getting the ball back, and how effectively they could turn interceptions or steals into offense - even on defense, they always seemed to be aware of their teammates, and turned defensive headers or interceptions or whatever into passes... They are a beautiful team to watch, and especially at the little things, like that - not flashy goal scorers, but such beautiful control of the ball, and of the whole game. They deserve this.

On a side note - nice to see Diego Forlan win the Golden Ball award. Uruguay provided a wonderful cinderella story in the tournament, though the way they played on the field, they were hardly cinderellas - they looked very much in the thick of things. Mostly because of Forlan, whose brilliance (along with that of Luis Suarez) seemed to give the team the ability to concentrate on defense without worrying about the goals. They too - and especially Forlan and Suarez - were a joy to watch.

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