Here are three reasons why on Sunday, Spain will fill the gaping hole in the country’s footballing resume and finally get to add a star above the team’s crest:
1. In the last three or four years, Spain has been the world’s most exciting football team, winning praise for its intricate attacking play. But they also have a world-class defense that gives away very few silly goals and have only conceded two goals all tournament. Spain’s Carles Puyol will fear little from Dutch forward Robin van Persie, who has had a subdued tournament with just one goal. This will be crucial in what is traditionally a very tight game.
2. The bad news for the Dutch is that at the other end of the pitch, Spain’s striker David Villa was unusually quiet against Germany and did not score. To expect this to continue through a second game of football is wishful thinking. Villa has hit the net with an amazing 42 goals in 63 international appearances and he has been on fire this tournament. He may yet end up top scorer. Given how close these games traditionally are, Spain has the player most likely to edge it their way.
3. The Dutch are playing their first World Cup final in 32 years, most of the squad were not even born when their team went down 3-1 to Argentina in 1978’s decider, and few will remember their country’s 1988 European Championship triumph. Spain’s team, on the other hand, is largely the one that won the European Championship two years ago. Spain has reached its second final in as many years. They have been here before and will be less overawed by the occasion than their Dutch opponents.
Don't buy the argument? Read Three reasons why the Netherlands will beat Spain.
World Cup 101