World Cup 2010 Final

Spain celebrate winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final

Champions of Europe and now champions of the world, Spain captured football’s Holy Grail for the first time with a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands thanks to Andres Iniesta’s 116th-minute strike at Soccer City.

The solitary goal came with penalties looming as substitute Cesc Fabregas played in Iniesta and the little midfielder drove emphatically across Maarten Stekelenburg and into the far corner. With this victory – their fourth successive single-goal win in South Africa – Spain became the eighth name on the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy and also the first European team to have triumphed on a different continent. For the Netherlands, who lost defender John Heitinga to a red card in extra time, there is only the heartache of another tale of what might have been after they completed a hat-trick of Final losses.

This was a match preceded by much talk of two like-minded footballing cultures, of the influence of Dutchmen like Johan Cruyff and Rinus Michels, of ‘tiki taka‘ and Total Football. In many ways, as the first 116 minutes showed, it was also a case of the irresistible force versus the immovable object. The Dutch had won 14 straight games to get to the Final, in qualifying and the tournament proper, and Spain 15 out of 16, their only slip the defeat by Switzerland in their first game here in South Africa.

It was the Spanish found their stride first, living up to their pre-game billing as favourites. Vicente del Bosque’s side dominated possession and created the early chances. With the Dutch penned inside their half, goalkeeper Stekelenburg had to make a save after five minutes, diving low to stop a Sergio Ramos header from Xavi’s free-kick from the right. Gerard Pique looked poised to follow up only to be denied by a combination of Joris Mathijsen and Dirk Kuyt.

Ramos came again in the tenth minute, beating Kuyt on the right and driving in a low centre that Heitinga deflected behind. From the corner came another scare for the Netherlands. Xavi played the ball back to Xabi Alonso whose cross went beyond the far post to David Villa but the in-form No7 sliced his volley into the side-netting. After those near things, however, both defences got on top with none of the flair players on either side able to take a grip on proceedings. Instead the yellow-card count began to rise with Nigel de Jong becoming the fifth player in Howard Webb’s notebook by the time the half-hour mark arrived.

With the orange sections of the 84,490 Soccer City crowd finding their voice, Bert van Marwijk’s men almost gave them something to sing about from a corner in the 37th minute. Robben rolled the ball to Mark van Bommel on the edge of the box and although he failed to make a clean connection he unwittingly diverted the ball on to the unmarked Mathijsen but the defender missed his kick. As half-time approached, Iker Casillas had barely had a save to make but entering stoppage time, he had to be alert to deny Robben at his near post as a spell of Dutch pressure ended with the winger spearing in a low shot from the corner of the box.

Puyol, Spain’s semi-final matchwinner, showed his aerial threat once more minutes after the restart when he rose above Heitinga and headed to the far post but Joan Capdevila failed to make contact. The game was gradually opening up and the Dutch spurned a golden opportunity in the 62nd minute when Wesley Sneijder sent Robben running clear. Casillas came to Spain’s rescue, deflecting the shot behind with his right foot when falling the wrong way.

Spain coach Del Bosque had already sent on Jesus Navas for Pedro on the hour and the winger helped pick a hole in the Dutch defence in the 70th minute. Xavi sent him flying down the right into the box and when Heitinga failed to deal with Navas’s low cross, the ball fell to Villa who looked odds-on to score only to see his effort deflected behind. Ramos was equally profligate after 78 minutes when he headed over a Xavi centre when unmarked, after Villa had forced another corner.

Spain were looking the more likely winners and it took Sneijder of all people to foil Iniesta with a smart tackle after his jinking run into the box. Yet Robben’s pace was a persistent threat and theOranje No11 almost embarrassed Puyol in the 82nd minute, speeding clear of the Spain defender when second-favourite to reach a through-ball. Resisting Pique’s attempt to tackle too, he was foiled only by Casillas, the captain saving at Robben’s feet as the Dutchman tried to round him.

Extra time began with opportunities for Spain. Xavi failed to connect when well positioned and when the ball ran to Villa, his shot went wide off an orange shirt. Substitute Fabregas then broke clear on to Iniesta’s through-ball but was foiled by Stekelenburg. Mathijsen headed wide from a corner but like waves, Spanish attacks kept rolling on to the Netherlands back line and Navas was close with a shot deflected into the side-netting.

Fernando Torres replaced Villa midway through the extra period and Spain gained a man advantage four minutes later with Heitinga’s dismissal for pulling back Iniesta on the edge of the box, the offence earning him a second yellow. Iniesta would not be denied, however, and his fine late strike put Spain into the history books and left a Dutch dream shattered.


World Cup Final, Spain Vs Netherland

Football News: Iker Casillas

A closer look at the key battles on the pitch in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Final to be held later today.

The great underachievers of world football meet at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium on Sunday, both bidding for their first tournament success at the World Cup.

We preview the key battles around the pitch.


Sneijder has been the hit of the tournament and promises to be the main midfield threat to Spain’s dream of lifting the World Cup. The Inter Milan ace has bagged five goals so far and is bidding to land the tournament’s Golden Boot. The passing ability of the Barcelona’s Xavi is unsurpassed in the tournament and he was the main architect of all their best moves against Germany in the semi-final. If the Dutch are to nullify his threat, they will have to be on top of their game.

Verdict: Xavi to triumph.


Both goalkeepers will have to be at their very best throughout 90 minutes, but the possibility of extra-time and a penalty shoot-out will heap more pressure on the pair. When it comes to penalties, Real Madrid’s Casillas, 29, has the upper hand. He made two saves against Italy in Euro 2008. Stekelenburg has no penalty shoot-out experience but has, so far, enjoyed a fine tournament although he was partly at fault for Diego Forlan’s long-range goal for Uruguay in the semi-final.

Verdict: Experienced Casillas to rule.


Former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben has been absolutely outstanding in a World Cup when so many of the game’s biggest stars have failed to shine. Robben, 26, came into the tournament on the back of an exceptional season with Bayern Munich and his form has simply got even better. The man to stop the Dutch destroyer is likely to be 32-year-old left-back Capdevila, especially as Robben likes to cut in from the right wing. The Villarreal defender may not be the quickest but has more than enough experience to cope with the threat of Robben.

Verdict: Capdevila to neutralise Robben.


Germany Vs Spain Preview

Spanish forward Fernando Torres (R) runs for the ball ahead of German defender Philipp Lahm during t

There will be at least one European representative in the Final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, after Germany and Spain go head-to-head in the second semi-final on Wednesday evening. The match gives the Germans the opportunity to avenge their defeat to a Fernando Torres goal in the final of UEFA EURO 2008. No less than 19 survivors from that game – eight Germans and 11 Spaniards – will be on show in Durban, yet much has changed since that night in Vienna.

La Roja have struggled at times to produce the same majestic football that swept them to the European title, while Joachim Low’s revamped unit are unquestionably the form side of the competition. Die Nationalmannschaft have been winning new fans with their adventurous approach and earning praise from even the most seasoned of observers, Franz Beckenbauer among them. “Germany have never played like this before,” said an admiring Kaiser after his compatriots had seen off Argentina in the last eight.

The match
Germany-Spain, Semi-Final, Durban, Wednesday, 7 July, 20.30 (local time).

While no side has scored more goals in the tournament than Germany’s 13, the statistics show that Spain have done more attacking than anyone. If those two pieces of information are anything to go by, this should be quite a match. The Germans have been nothing short of spectacular in South Africa. After putting four past Australia in the group phase, they clicked into top gear in the Round of 16, overwhelming England 4-1 with their rapid counter-attacking style and then put another four past Argentina in the quarters.

Though Spain have reached a semi-final for the first time ever, they have been unable to match the exacting standards they have set for themselves in recent times, reproducing their eye-catching possession football only sporadically. Victors by a single goal in their last three games, the European champions can justifiably point to some massed defences as the reason for their reduced creativity, but there will be no excuses for a lack of spark come kick-off time on Wednesday.

All the indications are that Vicente del Bosque will keep faith with the XI that started against Paraguay, which means a reprieve for the misfiring Torres, who has yet to score. As for opposite number Low, his most pressing problem is to find a replacement for the suspended Thomas Muller, with Piotr Trochowski, Toni Kroos and Cacau all in the frame.

Players to watch
Miroslav Klose v David Villa

The leading marksman at South Africa 2010 with five of his country’s six goals, the Spanish striker is just one away from joining Raul as La Roja’s top scorer of all time. No less important to his team than the in-form Villa, Klose is closing on another record. The German forward needs to find the back of the net one more time to draw level with Brazil’s Ronaldo as the leading goalscorer in FIFA World Cup finals history with 15 goals. One behind the Spaniard in the South Africa 2010 charts, Klose has not given up hope of making off with the adidas Golden Boot as well.

The stat
3 –
The number of times the two sides have faced each other in FIFA World Cup matches. Germany have yet to lose, winning 2-1 at England 1966 and Spain 1982 and forcing a 1-1 draw at USA 1994.

What they said
“Spain are the favourites to my mind and their team play is just amazing. They don’t have one Messi, they have several, and they don’t make many mistakes either, unlike England and Argentina. We need to force them to make errors,” Joachim Low, Germany coach.

“We haven’t come this far to finish fourth. We are going to fight hard against Germany to reach the Final, which is our one and only objective. We’ve reached a landmark for Spanish football by getting past the quarter-finals, but we know the Germany match is the most important in our history, even more so than the EURO 2008 final in Austria,” Iker Casillas, Spain goalkeeper and captain.

Voice of the fans
“Each match is a different story. Every team Spain have played against so far have defended, which is what teams who fear us do. It will be different against Germany though. There will be more space and whoever controls the midfield will have every chance of winning. This is going to be the game of the World Cup, the Final played one game early,” user oficus 11 (Spain).

Have your say
Can Miroslav Klose and/or David Villa make history in Durban?


:( Manchester United 1-2 Chelsea April 03, 2010:(

Didier Drogba’s controversial winner allowed Chelsea to beat Manchester United and climb back to the Premier League summit.

Sir Alex Ferguson and his team will feel hard done by as Drogba was clearly offside as he collected Salomon Kalou’s pass and drove home 12 minutes from time.

The significance of the error only became clear once Federico Macheda had pulled a goal back for the hosts to set up a pulsating finish.

But Ferguson would be aware that the first hour had been completely one-sided in Chelsea’s favour and that the visitors should have had a greater advantage than the one goal Joe Cole provided in the first half.

Without Wayne Rooney, there was no real bite in United’s attack. And although the 34-goal striker is only out for a fortnight, by the time he returns his side’s dreams of glory might be over, considering Chelsea now have a two-point advantage and a superior goal difference.

Since his recovery from a long-term knee injury, Cole has struggled to get back into the swing of things.

Fabio Capello claimed he was not the same player when he left the midfielder out of his England squad to face Egypt last month, raising extreme doubt over Cole’s chances of making the World Cup.

Cole’s admission that contract talks had broken down was a statement in itself, given it is hard to imagine Carlo Ancelotti allowing a pivotal player to find himself in such a position so close to him being allowed to leave on a free transfer.

Old Trafford has been mentioned as a potential destination should Cole leave Stamford Bridge this summer, so it was an opportunity to impress Sir Alex Ferguson, not that the United chief would have found the 18th-minute opener even vaguely admirable.

Having put his side’s obvious failings in possession down to a one-off in Munich last week, Ferguson must have been worried to see the same fault reappearing quite so often, quite so soon.

There is no doubt the ankle injury Rooney suffered in Germany had a negative effect on United.

But the fault lay much deeper, their play too ponderous to have any impact.

All across the midfield, United were wasteful in possession. And with Florent Malouda giving Gary Neville a right old runaround, Chelsea took complete command.

The disappointment for Ancelotti must have been that his team did not make the most of their possession.

Edwin van der Sar denied Cole on one occasion and Nicolas Anelka had a couple of shots blocked but clear-cut chances were rare.

Even Chelsea’s opening goal was not a golden opportunity in that sense.

Malouda was invited to run into the home box and although Darren Fletcher eventually reacted, the Chelsea midfielder had the strength to hold him off and cut the ball back to the near post, where Cole got in front of Patrice Evra and found the net with a neat back flick.

It took United a long time to respond. And when the rally eventually came, it took the form of a couple of debatable penalty appeals and referee Mike Dean was not impressed either when Yury Zhirkov chopped down Park Ji-sung and Dimitar Berbatov fell under Frank Lampard’s challenge.

Had Paulo Ferreira shown more conviction when he raced to meet Cole’s excellent through-ball at the start of the second half, the contest would have been over.

Instead, the full-back failed to find either the far corner, or Anelka, and United, who at least speeded up a little bit, remained alive.

The escape certainly seemed to galvanise the hosts, who for the first time made Chelsea’s defence creak.

Berbatov, the man of whom so much was expected in Rooney’s absence, was just off target with a couple of headers and, off balance, Park was unable to keep his shot on target after a forceful Fletcher run had carved Chelsea open.

The introduction of Drogba midway through the second half emphasised the Blues’ strength in depth compared to their hosts, who were forced to rely on the talents of teenager Macheda when Ferguson needed to reinvigorate his side.

Predictably, Drogba had an immediate impact, even if he was offside as he collected Kalou’s pass before drilling his shot past Van der Sar.

Down, and almost out, United responded instantly as Cech pushed Nani’s cross onto the on-rushing Macheda.

The ball bounced slowly into the Chelsea goal to set up a dramatic ending.

But the Blues were worthy winners at the end. Behind glass, in the executive box where he watched from, Rooney could only wonder what might have been.

Sad day very sad day. David Beckham Injured and ruled out from World Cup :(

Fabio Capello has offered words of support to David Beckham who has been ruled out of the World Cup finals after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Beckham will undergo surgery in Finland on Monday but the doctor who will perform the procedure has revealed it will take a minimum of four months to recover – ruling him out of the World Cup.

Capello spoke to Beckham shortly after the midfielder picked up his injury playing for Milan and the Italian is already planning for South Africa without the 34-year-old.

“We have to wait for the results of the scan, but it looks like he is out of the World Cup,” said the England coach. “I spoke with him after the game on Sunday night to offer my support, as did Franco Baldini.

“David is a great professional and has worked very hard to be ready for the World Cup, so missing it will be a big blow.”

Beckham’s spokesman told the Sun: “He’s devastated by the injury. He’s fearful of what it could mean for his World Cup hopes. We will see the full extent of the injury. Victoria is flying out to him immediately because of the injury. She’s naturally worried about him.”

The surgeon due to operate on Beckham on Monday says the injury will prevent the LA Galaxy midfielder, who is on loan at Milan, from playing for up to four months. Beckham is expected to arrive in Finland at around 1100 GMT and will be operated on Dr Sakari Orava.

“To start kicking and playing football about three months,” Dr Orava said. “For maximal performances and maximum kicks and jumps, maybe it takes one month more, three to four months before one is able to do light playing.

“It’s a total tear of the Achilles tendon. If there is any weakness then… a graft can be taken from the calf and put over the injury site to make it stronger. This kind of procedure is planned.”

While England’s medical team will await the results of scans and Monday’s planned operation, Milan are in no doubt that the serious injury will prevent Beckham from appearing in South Africa.

“Dr Orava is the foremost specialist in the world for this kind of injury, we want to get David to see him as quickly as possible,” Jean Pierre Meersseman, Milan’s club doctor, said. “But as far as the World Cup is concerned, he’s definitely out.”

Beckham rejoined Milan on a second loan spell in January and is a popular figure at San Siro. Rossoneri chief executive Adriano Galliani expects Beckham to be absent for “five to six months” but has already told the midfielder he will be welcomed back for a third spell in Serie A.

“I gave him a big hug and told him that he is a part of our family and that, if he wants to come back to Milan next year, there will be a place for him here,” Galliani said in the Times. “It’s horrible, for two consecutive years he has come to play for us for one reason only, to stay fit for the World Cup and to further his England career. And now something like this happens. Football can be so cruel.”