Sunday will mark the end of the 2010 World Cup. It will be the Netherlands' third trip to the final game, and Spain's first, with neither team having ever won it all. Sunday that will all change for one team.
There are a number of things to watch in Sunday's World Cup Championship game, and there are a lot of things that can happen that may swing the game in favor of one team or another. Neither team has ever won the World Cup. The Netherlands have had two chances and both times been very close, but both of those chances were over 30 years ago.
In 1974 the Netherlands had a late game lead against West Germany, only to see it slip away. Then four years later in 1978 they were back, that time against Argentina and missed by inches on a late game scoring try.
For Spain, they have never been to the World Cup final game. Two years ago they won the European Championship, but the World Cup is different, this is what they really want to win.
The first thing to watch out for is to see who collapses under the pressure. Obviously there is a great deal of pressure on both teams and one of them will go home with their first World Cup Championship. For the other team it will be another four years of waiting and more frustration. The game runs 90 minutes and quite possibly the team that wins is the team that doesn't buckle under the pressure. Pressure can do funny things to an athlete and can often lead to mistakes, watch for these mistakes.
The second thing is Spain's Xavi going up against, the Netherlands' Mark van Bommel. Xavi is a quick mid-fielder with elusive tricks, while Van Bommel is the enforcer who is going to have to shut him down. Depening on how this battle turns out could have a huge affect on the outcome of the game. Van Bommel will have to time his tackles and moves perfectly otherwise he might find an empty space.
The third thing to watch is going to be the big players for each team, and there is one on each team. For Spain it is David Villa, who Barcelona is paying $50 million this summer, while Wesley Sneijder has been offered a $42 million deal with Manchester United on the otherside of the field. Both of these men have delivered for their respective teams this year and their performance, their shots on goal very easily could be the winners.
According to Yahoo Sports there are two more things to watch in Sunday's contest the "workhorses" and the "defensive titans".
Workhorses are simple for the Dutch it is Dirk Kuyt and the Spainiards it is Andres Iniesta. These are guys who play lots of minutes, give themselves up for the team and sacrifice their own talents for those of the stars around them. They routinely have covered a lot of field and throw their bodies everywhere to help make things happen. According to Yahoo the question is how much gas to do they have left in the tank? If one burns out that could cripple one of these teams.
Spanish defender Carlos Puyol and Dutch center back Joris Mathijsen are consdered the two defensive titans in the game. Watch Mathijsen is still hurting from a knee injury so Villa's quick cuts could pose a problem for him. Puyol will be having to lockdown a much taller Dutch striker Robin van Persie, which in itself could be a problem as Van Persie will try and use his height as leverage against Puyol.
There is one thing that is a guarantee tomorrow and that is one team will go home as the World Cup Champions and the other will be the 2010 Runners-up, or the first "also played."