I have to admit, I’m happy today is the last day of the World Cup. Once I watch the final, I will have watched 56 out of 64 games. That’s far too many and my interest is starting to wane. Next cup, I’ll probably pick and chose who to watch as this was just too much. I am wearing an orange shirt today, but that has more to do with the fact that it’s my last clean shirt than the fact that I want The Netherlands to win.
In yesterday’s third place game, Germany beat Spain 3-2. It was a good match, but I was too tired after to think about writing a recap. I also had a ton of errands to run and, oddly, had several phone calls. So, I didn’t write anything about the match.
There was a small bit of controversy earlier today as several members of Nelson Mandela’s family claimed that FIFA were pressuring Mandela to attend the game and ceremonies afterward. Mandela, 91, has been in a frail condition the past few months and his 13 year old granddaughter was killed by a drunk driver the night before the start of the World Cup. Mandela, however, said he wanted to attend the closing ceremonies and then return home to watch the match on TV.
If you want, you can read my poor prediction of today’s game over at KNEB. I suck at predicting, so never bet on a game because of something I said.
In the first five minutes of the game, Spain had several obvious dives. I understand that diving is part of the game, but it’s really disgraceful that you have to do it in a World Cup final match. Your team is supposed to be one of two best in the world at that moment and relying on cheap tricks diminishes the game.
After twenty-five minutes, the Dutch continued to play overly aggressive football, with several yellow cards handed out. The Spaniards, on the other hand, seemed to fall over from the slightest breeze if it meant they could get a foul out of it.
In the 28th minute, The Netherlands’ Nigel De Jong ninja kicked Spain’s Xavi Alonso in the chest. He should have been handed a red card, but was only given a yellow. At this point, the World Cup final had turned into a very dirty and dangerous game. Despite all this, the first half was rather boring. There was a lot of back and forth with the ball and very little of Spain keeping possession. Neither team were dominant in the first half, though The Netherlands led in yellow cards and fouls. At the half, the score remained 0-0 and Spain kept its record of not conceding a goal in the first half of this World Cup.
The yellow cards and fouls continued into the second half. Both teams finally started to settle down in the 65th minute and play some real football. There was some nice passing and a few shots on goal, but, after 90 minutes, there were still no goals.
The players for both sides look tired, but extra time needed to be played. Both teams hoped that 30 more minutes of play would lead to a goal, but neither side had ever scored in extra time before. At the half, Fernando Torres came in for David Villa. The first half of extra time saw some great playing, unfortunately, it was not to last in the second half of extra time. In the 109th minute, John Heitinga of the Netherlands received a second yellow, triggering a red card and he was sent off. The Dutch were out of control the entire match.
Spain finally scored in 116th minute with a goal by Andreas Iniesta, who was subsequently booked for taking his shirt off in celebration. I highly doubt he cares. Gerard Pique and goalkeeper Iker Casillas of Spain broke down in tears when Iniesta scored the goal. Spain held on for the 1-0 victory and take home the cup.
It was an ugly match and, though I originally wanted The Netherlands to win, they didn’t deserve it with their constant dirty play. The Dutch had many chances to score and only have themselves to blame for the way they played. The Netherlands got what they deserved and the right team won. There were many exciting games this World Cup. It’s a shame this wasn’t one of them.
The best moment of the entire match was watching Iker Casillas lift the World Cup for Spain.
Some other quick notes: Germany’s Thomas Müller gets the Golden Boot for most goals in the tournament. The 20-year old has also been named Hyundai Best Young Player of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I believe the ref in this game gave out the most yellow cards ever. I lost count after nine. I watched 56 of 64 matches. South Africa put on a great World Cup.
See you all in four years when the World Cup is played in Brazil. Everyone should watch the cup then, especially since you won’t have to get up at 5am, like I did this year because of time zone differences.