I told you Spain was going to win! Never doubt my sports prognostications!
Of course, Spain was one of the favorites going in, so it’s not like I picked some 50-1 darkhorse. They did make it interesting by dropping their opener, in shocking fashion to the Swiss, and then needing a win in their third game to avoid going home early. They never captured the flair they played with two summers ago. In many ways, they fell short of expectations. But they lifted that tiny trophy yesterday, which is all that matters.
Meanwhile, the misery continues in the Netherlands. Already the “best country to never win the World Cup,” they added to their history of never being quite good enough.1 They had a fantastic tournament, until the final. I listened to the game while shoveling mulch for many hours, but it sounded like they decided to beat the Spaniards up rather than play their normal, flowing soccer. I watched some of the replay Sunday night, and I got the sense their coach feared losing a 3-2 game, so turned it into a physical battle and hoped the late goal went their way. Shame. It could have been a classic between two teams that play beautiful, attacking soccer. Instead, it was another tense, ugly 1-0 Cup final.
Kudos to Germany as well. Arguably the team of the tournament, they couldn’t crack Spain in the semis but were the most entertaining team of the tournament. It’s ridiculous how much young talent they have, too. Hopefully those young guys won’t turn into traditional, dour German players in the next four years. I’ll go ahead and make them the early co-favorites with Brazil for the next World Cup.
Finally, a few words on behalf of Uruguay’s Diego Forlán, who captured the Golden Ball award as best player in the tournament. That is one good looking man. I’ll stop there before this gets uncomfortable.
- This underachiever label is a bit unfortunate. The Netherlands has a smaller population than the New York City metropolitan area. I’d say three World Cup runners up finishes is pretty good for a nation that size. ↩