History will be created in South Africa

The semi-finals have been played and the final two sides chosen — it’s going to be Netherlands vs Spain on the 11th of July at Johannesburg, and no matter which team wins, history will be created.

Netherlands enter their first World Cup final since 1978 with a 3-2 win over the relatively inexperienced Uruguay side. They won’t be favored to win against Spain, but this Dutch team finds ways to win. The Oranje outplayed Brazil with a combination of a very strong, hardworking midfield and a continuous attack that revealed all of Brazil’s weak spots, setting up the upset of World Cup 2010.

But they didn’t look all that very convincing against Uruguay. The verve with which they played against Brazil was lacking for the most part of the game. They won against the hard-working Uruguay team solely on the basis of their experience.

Dutch stars like Robin Van Persey haven’t made a mark at the World Cup — the glory in their team belongs to Wesley Sneijder (who is in the running for the coveted Golden Boot) and Dirk Kuyt.

Spain have already created one piece of history —- this was the first time the Spanish team made it to the semi-final stage in the World Cup. Should the Euro 2008 champions go on to lift the title, it will mark their first-ever World Cup victory, and will make them one of just a handful of teams to have won the Euro cup and gone on to win the World Cup two years later.

After their embarrassing loss to Switzerland in their opening group game, Spain were able to go on to beat a “German team so rampant that it had three times scored four goals in a game during the tournament,”
suggesting that they’re just hitting their stride. Though I was afraid that the German defense might be too difficult for the Spanish to break through, and that German strikers would pull holes in the Spanish defense, La Roja flowed down the field like a wave of red!

Their confidence in possession is terrifying — Spain more than once took short free kicks to players who had an opposition defender literally on their backs, the gesture showing their players’ confidence in holding on to the ball no matter how close the opposition got. On the rare occasion that they lost it, they simply grabbed it back within a split second. And in the process, they played some gorgeous attacking football with little flicks and feints putting their players through — although that sometimes maddening Spanish habit of seeking to pass the ball all the way into the net rather than sometimes simply pulling the trigger was occasionally in evidence. — Time.CNN

But what are their chances in the finals?

The Dutch didn’t expect to reach the finals, so they should be able to play a freer game without any kind of performance pressure. The start-studded Spanish side, though, entered the tournament as the favorites to lift the trophy, and the pressure can tell. At the end of the day, though, football is a crazy game — anything can happen, at any time!

Uruguay advanced into the semi-final by beating Ghana due to a foul in the final minute of extra time. Netherlands defeated Brazil because Felipe Melo got in the way of his goalkeeper, and later let his frustration get the better of him and got himself sent off for a violent foul.

And that is why I for one am going to be glued to my television set on the 11th, cheering on for my favorite side — Spain!

(images courtesy FIFA/getty images)

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