Thursday, July 8, 2010

FOOTBALL'S TRIUMPH and the crown of a new Champion

On Sunday, there will be a new World Cup champion. Not Germany, not Brazil, and definitely not Italy. One of Gio Van Bronckhorst or Iker Casillas will become the new face of International Football, for the next four years (until we all move to Brazil in 2014 - don't you dare say you hadn't thought of doing that!). This matchup represents the Triumph of Football. The real one. You know, passing the ball around until you find a goal opportunity. The Football FC Barcelona or Arsenal apply on a regular basis. The Netherlands and Spain are in the final for one simple reason: they always played Football...

The lack of household names such as Argentina, Brazil or Italy in the last 4, drove occasional fans away from their TV and back to their everyday empty lives. However, true fans who got over the loss of their beloved teams, after bragging about the number of stars they carry on their shirt (as if these titles somehow magically changed the present and showed the true class of their underachieving sides), will drool over the prospect of the Greatest WC final since '86.

Spain: They've been favourites to win everything since '07, for having displayed the ability to pass the ball around for as long as they want, until Villa or Torres , two of the best strikers alive, can find some space in the box. With a midfield of tiny magicians (Xavi, Iniesta) able to keep the ball or push it through any defense, la Roja changed the recent belief that you needed muscle in the center of the park. Forget beefing up your midfield. Perfect positionning and tactics will take care of defensive duties. Oh, and denying ball possession to any opponent won't hurt either.

What Brazil has been able to do for so many years (but chose not to this time around - Dunga chose counter attacking over having fun and showing off - look where he is now), has been taught to any player who went up the ranks of Spanish football development in the recent years(including Messi), no matter their size. Be patient with the ball, have faith in your teammates' positionning, be alert of their movement on the pitch. And, LOVE football. Love it, be happy to have the greatest job ever. (The French are great footballers but couldn't give a donkey's arse about the sport. The Soccer Gods don't like that - See what happened?!) Cherish the ball, cherish the Sport, and think of the fans (your bosses - they pay your bills). Throughout South Africa 2010, Spain has played the beautiful game (except for Sergio Busquets, who spent more time getting up from imaginary fouls then actually running), their game. Anyone who tried to adapt their style of play to an opponent has been eliminated. The (Ze) Germans looked scared of Spain on wednesday, and didn't attack the way they're used to. To their defense, they barely had the ball...

Netherlands: Just like Spain, they rarely had a great performance at the WC. No 4-0's (plural), but wins. Somehow, they both MANAGED to win their matches. Because they played. The way they know how to play. Sunday will be a battle of possession, because like the Spanish, the Dutch like having the ball, and know how to use it. Some fans expected a Messi vs Kaka showdown in the final. Sorry to disappoint (and possibly insult) you, but Football starts way before the ball gets to forwards like the aformentioned. Instead, I give you Xavi vs Sneijder. The true architects of Modern Football. Don't get me wrong, David Villa is brilliant, and so is Arjen Robben. But their performances depend greatly on how much of the ball they get. And we know who gets them that Jabulani. If the Oranje come out to play, then this shall be a grand-stand finish to a very dramatic Mundial.

So, let's forget about the losers, our tears and disappointments, poor refereeing (No more - Howard Webb will officiate the final! - England did make it all the way after all), and hope for the Greatest Football match in our lifetime. Hey, on Monday, I'll be suicidal, so I'm hoping for a reason to stay alive - gimme a break.

Two nations who respect the One rule of the game will fight (or dance rather), for the title. That rule: Play. 'Cause who wants to see 22 guys stare at each other for an hour-and-a-half? Exactly. We, the Whole of Football, will triumph, on Sunday.


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