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I’m putting myself on the same platform as Pulpo Paul (the psychic octopus), after calling Spain over the Netherlands before the start of the tournament and also picking this one to go to extra time yesterday. But enough about me, let’s talk about this final and the tournament.
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Spain is a deserved champion. Clearly the best team of the field each time it played. Also the first team to ever win the final after losing its first game in the tournament (La Furia Roja fell to Blaise Nkufo and the Swiss in the opener). You gotta love how they play a beautiful version of the game, extra points for that.
What a phenomenal tournament. Even if the final wasn’t super entertaining for 120 minutes, the happenings down in South Africa were a treat for an entire month. So many great moments, games, goals and talking points. Such a thrill to experience, even from afar.
So glad it didn’t go to a shootout. It’s such a heartbreaking way to lose and an undeserved way to win. I understand it’s the tiebreaker we have in the game right now, but Iniesta’s goal provided a satisfying conclusion. If the Dutch would’ve won in spot kicks, it would’ve felt wrong.
Total Football to Thug Football?. The Oranje could’ve been down to nine men in the first half were it not for lucky decisions from the ref. I thought Van Bommel could have very easily been sent off for a nasty challenge on Iniesta early on. And De Jong sticking his cleats into Xabi Alonso’s chest was disgraceful. The shameless physical play from the Dutch lost them fans Sunday and certainly had on-the-fence viewers cheering for Spain.
Howard Webb had a bad game. Officiating is difficult, but this is a World Cup final. No excuses here. The Englishman was way too involved early on and was shaky throughout the 120 minutes. Missed a lot of crucial decisions as well, especially when De Jong stayed on the field after going (pick one of the following: Karate Kid, Shawn ‘HBK’ Michaels, Mortal Kombat, King Leonidas) on Xabi Alonso’s chest. Didn’t have the conviction to make the right call when he needed to.
Spain over Germany in 2012 Euros. I’m calling that one now. Brazil to win the 2014 World Cup too, but that’s an easy call since they’ll be at home.
And one final note. New Zealand was the only unbeaten team in the tournament. How about that?