Wednesday, July 07, 2010


They were good.

Frighteningly, comprehensively good. Young good, fast good, creatively good. Good in front, good at the back, seeming to get better with every game they played. Too good to question. So good that the outcome today seemed like an afterthought; the game wouldn't be a contest, but a confirmation that Germany had only one last step to take to win the world's soccer championship for the fourth time in history.

Except someone forgot to tell eleven Spaniards that.I normally love Spanish football. It's fast, flowing, daring, and creative but with the hard edge of good defending that has made them Europe's best side for the past four years.

But this Spanish side had underwhelmed me. Starting with the shocking opening loss to the lowly Swiss, their group games were dour, they seemed to do just barely enough to get by. I had little hope that they would relieve my Oranje the nightmare of being defeated - again - by Germans in the Final.

But hope - from the head of the Spanish defender Puyol - came in the form of a 1-nil defeat for the German side, which must go home feeling hard done by, their offensive genius perhaps crippled by the suspension of the brilliant Thomas Muller.Did I mention that this is a cruel game?

So now there's one more game. Spain will play the Netherlands for the chance to be the first team from their nations to bring the world's cup home. The other nation's team will go home in bitter regret.

I'll be watching.

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