Johanesburg, Jul 11: This is it. After weeks of excitement, matches, points, goals, fouls, yellow cards, red cards and of course the ever buzzing sound of vuvuzelas, it all comes down to the 90 minute game between Spain and Netherlands, the culminating point of FIFA World Cup 2010.
While Spain has always been one of the teams seen as the potental World Cup 2010 winners, the dark horses Netherlands earned the spot in finals by putting up many a impressive shows. For both the teams, this is the first time they have entered the World Cup finals and is the oppurtunity to take home the Holy Grail.
Spain have been consistantly good. Even though they dished out a shocker early in the tournament by falling to Swiss in the group stage, the fiery team proved too hot for any one else to handle since then.
The Dutch advanced quietly yet steadly while the world watched the likes of Italy, France and England fall. Even though they were also pegged as the possible winners early in the tournament, the real dark horses emerged as a force to reckon with when they defeated the all mighty Brazil in the quarter finals.
With these teams set to clash for the finals, the shock riddled World Cup 2010 is set to make it to the history books as one of the most exciting and unpredictable ones so far.
Meanwhile, the psychic Octopus, Paul, has spoken. He has picked Spain over the Dutch as the winners. Paul may have a spotless record of accuracy in the current World Cup but his prophesy had failed in Euro Cup finals when he picked Germany over Spain. If his failure repeats, and Netherlands takes on Spain for good the final tie will be a phenomenal one.
While the competant Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder will be handling the Dutch attack, the Spanish conquest will be led by David Villa, Hernandez Xavi and Andres Iniesta. All these five players will also be aiming at grabbing the Golden Ball award.
Netherlands also brings with it other strong performers such as defender Gregory van der Wiel, midfielder Nigel de Jong and Dirk Kuyt.
A word from the rival camps:
From the Spain camp, Coach Vicente del Bosque says, "I'm relaxed and have total confidence in them. We are past the euphoria of qualifying for the final and are aware of what's at stake tomorrow. And even for a coach, this is perhaps one of the easiest matches in terms of the mentality and psychological approach because there is so much excitement around this match, a coach hardly has to do anything to motivate the players."
From the Dutch camp, Coach Bert Van Marwijk says, "It's unbelievable. It's the most important match in my football career. And it's the same for all the players. No Dutch player has ever become a world champion in football. That's something special. But still we have to approach it as any ordinary game."
Players to Watch:
Spain: David Villa, Hernandez Xavi, Andres Iniesta
Netherlands: Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Dirk Kuyt