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2010 World Cup Semifinals Rewind

XaviThe 2010 World Cup Final has now been set, and – regardless of the outcome – we will have a first time winner. Of course, neither of the two teams in the Final are historically poor sides. In fact, both have been traditionally dominant but simply failed to win the “Big One.” But, before I preview the Final later this week, let us first take a look back at the two Semifinals, each of which was decided in thrilling fashion by a solitary goal. Here is a rundown of the two games:

NED 3 – 2 URU: The Dutch have been labeled as a “lucky” team by many in the world media, but I am a firm believer in the old saying “you make your own luck.” What that means is this – the so-called “luck” a team experiences is really just a product of their skill to put themselves in a position where a fortunate break will yield a fantastic result. There can be no denying the fact that URU played very well in this tournament and looked like a team that deserved to make the Semifinals. But, there can be even less doubt that the Netherlands has earned its Golden Ticket to the Big Dance.

ESP 1 – 0 GER: The Red Fury were actually the underdogs against a German team whose goal differential throughout the tournament was historically impressive. I liked ESP to win this game for the same reason they ultimately prevailed though: they play better as a unit than any other team on the globe. 10 of the same 11 men who started the Euro 2008 Final started this game, and they once again proved they were better than the Germans. In winning over Germany, has regained its “favorite” status, and the only question now is whether they can beat NED and all its “luck.”

Creative Commons License photo credit: Alfonso Jiménez