July 12, 2010

World Cup Final--Spain 1, Netherlands 0: It took 117 minutes, but Spain finally overcame the Orange-clad Stormtroopers to win their first World Cup. Don't believe me? Ask Johann Cruyff (website in Spanish):
Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff has launched a scathing attack on Netherlands' display in the World Cup final, deriding it as "anti-football".

The Dutch received nine yellow cards, and a red card for Johnny Heitinga, as they lost 1-0 to Spain in South Africa.

"Sadly, they played very dirty," Cruyff told Spanish newspaper El Periodico.

"This ugly, vulgar, hard, hermetic, hardly eye-catching, hardly football style... If with this they got satisfaction, fine, but they lost."


Cruyff, along with many others, believed Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong were lucky not to be sent off before half-time, Van Bommel for a tackle from behind on Iniesta and De Jong for kicking Xabi Alonso in the chest.

"They should have been down to nine immediately, then they made two [such] ugly and hard tackles that even I felt the damage," said the 63-year-old Cruyff.

"It hurts me that Holland chose an ugly path to aim for the title."
Spain may well be the most unexplosive, least feared team to win the World Cup since England in 1966. Winning four consecutive games by a score of one to nil will do that to your reputation, as well as an offense that achieved the dubious distinction of scoring eight goals in the entire tournament, the fewest of any champion in the tournament's history. Which isn't to suggest that Spain's title was undeserved, since there was nothing flukish about any of their wins; this was definitely not your father's Spanish team, the Cleveland Cavaliers of soccer. But as the Swiss showed in the opener, Spain was a very beatable team, and most of the squads that participated in this World Cup, including the U.S. and Mexico, would not have needed to elevate their game that much to match what Switzerland did.

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