Spain Wins Their First World Cup Ever; Plus Post-World Cup Awards


spain world cup

It wasn’t always the beautiful game, but the best team came out victorious as Spain defeated the Netherlands 1-0 Sunday to win its first ever World Cup trophy.

Andres Iniesta got the crucial goal for the Spanish in extra time, just four minutes away from a penalty shootout. The midfielder smashed home a close range half-volley after being put through by Cesc Fabregas- it was a classy finish on a night where those were sorely lacking.

By: Sam Svoboda and Justin Mertes-Mistretta

paul the octopus

Both teams squandered numerous chances over the course of 120 minutes, and while goalkeepers Iker Casillas and Maarten Stekelenburg deserve much credit, this was not exactly the offensive display that fans were hoping for.

Instead, the contest more closely resembled a war of attrition- indeed, Iniesta’s goal came when the Dutch were playing with ten men, after center back John Heitenga was sent off for a second bookable offense in the 109th minute. All told, there were at least a dozen yellow cards (the exact number depends on how one counts Heitenga’s two yellows/red card) as each team- particularly the Dutch- attempted to establish a physical presence.

This resulted in a first half that was almost painful to watch, and although the match opened up in the second half and in extra time, neither team could put the finishing touches on any attacking moves until Iniesta settled things at the death.

In the end, it was a fair result, as the Spanish controlled the tempo for most of the match, and it proved two things to the world: Spain is clearly the best team in international soccer right now, and Paul the Octopus is truly the aquatic Nostradamus.

That leads me to my awards for the 2010 World Cup:

Top performers during the World Cup:

  1. Paul the Octopus – Went 8-for-8 on World Cup picks. I think he’s on to something here.
  2. David Villa – Carried Spain to the finals with 5 goals in 7 games.
  3. Diego Forlan – Became the first player in 20 years to score 3 goals outside of the box.
  4. Wesley Sneijder – Tied Villa for most goals in the tournament with 5.
  5. Miroslav Klose – Scored 4 goals to make it 14 goals in his career. This left him one short of Ronaldo’s record of 15. This may have been Klose’s (32 years old) last World Cup, so that record may stay for a while.

Most disappointing players during the Cup:

  1. Fernando Torres – His team found a way to win, but it was no thanks to Torres, who was such a disaster, that he had to come off the bench towards the end of the Cup.
  2. Lionel Messi – Failed to score, despite taking 29 shots.
  3. Wayne Rooney – For being the leader of the “Golden Age” of English soccer, he really let down his country by failing to record a goal.
  4. Kaka – He was non-existent in the mid-field. It was Luis Fabiano, not Kaka, who carried Brazil through the group stage.
  5. Robin Van Persie – He has always been a bit overrated (and injury-prone), but I would have expected more from a guy with his skill. He played selfish the majority of the time, trying to dribble through defenders when all that was needed was a simple pass. He also was a distraction off the field, with his temper tantrums during substitutions.

Most disappointing teams during the Cup:

  1. Italy – They looked old, but worst of all, they should a sign of life in the last half of their last group stage game. This only teased fans when it was too late. To go from winning the 2006 World Cup to not making out of the group stage is a major disappointment.
  2. France – Can’t say I was really surprised, but France failed to record a win (going 0-1-2) in the 2010 World Cup. This is unacceptable for a team with this much talent.
  3. England – This was supposed to finally be the year for the “Golden Age” of England. Instead, it was the same old, same old, as England underachieved yet again.
  4. Brazil – Unfortunately for Brazil, the expectations are also high. It’s either win or bust every year for them. However, to not make it past the quarterfinals is a bust in anyone’s eyes.
  5. South Africa – The expectations were not great for this team. However, they became the first host country ever to not make it out of the group stage.

Just for fun, the predicted winner of the 2014 World Cup:

  1. Brazil over Germany – The 2014 World Cup will be played in Brazil. This Brazil team will be favored every year there in. Luis Fabiano will have more experience, playing in his second World Cup and Germany has a nice, young nucleus of solid players.
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  1. There are also a golf course and a large marina Foto.

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