Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Puyol Puts Spain Into Final

Before I get to today's match between Germany and Spain, I do need to make a correction. Uruguay may have lost their Semifinal to the Netherlands, but they aren't going home yet. Don't ask me why the third place game slipped my mind...

At times futbol has been compared to a chess match, and today's match between Germany and Spain certainly fit that description. In fact it was a match between two grand masters of the game, with few mistakes on the part of either defense.

That said, Spain had the better of the offense play, had the majority of the play. Just to illustrate that, Germany only managed to take a total of three shots, only one of which was on goal, as compared to Spain's total of twelve shots, with five with in the frame.

In the end, however, it took a defender to score the only goal of the match. In the 73rd minute Spain's Xavier Hernández i Creus, better known as simply Xavi, sent a corner that found an unmarked Carles Puyol rushing into the area for a header that put Spain into a World Cup Final for the first time in their history.

So, now we get another little break before the third place match on Saturday where we have two nations who have won multiple World Cups. Germany can claim three titles (although all three were officially won by West Germany, before the reunification) in 1954. 1971, and again in 1990.

There opponents, Uruguay, have won the tournament twice. The first time was as hosts of the very first World Cup back in 1930. The second was in Brazil in 1950 where the Uruguayan's gave Brazil their most humiliating defeat in their history in the final match of the tournament.

Conversely the Final sees two teams who have never lifted the World Cup. Spain, as I've already mentioned, will be playing in their first Final. For the Netherlands it will be their third, having previously reaching the championship game in 1974 and 1978. Come Sunday, we'll see if the third time is the charm, or if the curse of the Clockwork Orange continues.

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