Spain vs. Holland, Soccer City Stadium Johannesburg, South Africa 2:30 PM EST Sunday July 11, 2010 on ESPN
Match Odds: Spain 2.10 / Holland 3.50 / Draw 3.20
Over/Under: 2 Goals
Moneyline: Spain +115 / Holland at +235 / Draw at +230
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In the finals of the World Cup on Sunday night Spain is the favorite taking on Holland. The Dutch are hoping that the third time is the charm, as they have played in 2 World Cup finals (1974 and 1978) and have lost both times. Spain has already bested their top World Cup finish since their previous best finish was fourth place and that was way back in 1950.
Whoever wins this match will be taking home their very first World Cup trophy. For a long time Spain was seen as the team that could not win the big one. They threw that monkey off their back when they won the European Championship in 2008.
These teams have played against each other 9 times with each team winning 4, losing 4, and playing to one draw, but the Dutch have won 3 of their last 4 matches against Spain, who have not won this match up since 1983.
Coming into the World Cup Spain was the favorite to win it all and the main reason was thought to be their offense. However, it is their defense that has carried them to the finals, as they have won 3 straight playoff matches by a 1-0 score.
In their semifinal wins Holland beat Uruguay 3-2 and Spain beat Germany 1-0.
Holland has looked solid in the playoffs, but they still have concerns on defense. In the 3 matches in the knockout state they have given up 4 goals and in the semifinal win over Uruguay they gave up 2 goals and had fewer shots in the match (12 to 11). In the finals they cannot allow Spain to dominate the time of possession and to take many more shots on target or they will be in trouble.
Spain played a great match against Germany in the semis and if they can play good D against a dynamic Dutch offense and create some scoring chances they have a great chance to win.
In an interesting fact Spain have the most World Cup wins of any country that has not hoisted the World Cup trophy.
Spain Recent Form:
7/7/2010 Spain 1 Germany 0 (World Cup)
7/3/2010 Spain 1 Paraguay 0 (World Cup)
6/29/2010 Spain 1 Portugal 0 (World Cup)
6/25/2010 Spain 2 Chile 1 (World Cup)
6/21/2010 Spain 2 Honduras 0 (World Cup)
Holland Recent Form:
7/6/2010 Holland 3 Cameroon 2 (World Cup)
7/2/2010 Holland 2 Brazil 1 (World Cup)
6/28/2010 Holland 2 Slovakia 1 (World Cup)
6/24/2010 Holland 2 Cameroon 1 (World Cup)
6/19/2010 Holland 1 Japan 0 (World Cup)
The Dutch MF duo of Mark van Bommel and Nigel De Jong have to play well in this match, especially thwarting the attack led by the Spanish strikers of David Villa and Fernando Torres or Pedro.
Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Xabi Alonso lead the Spanish midfield and if these guys set up their strikers and control the ball they will be tough to beat. They will do just that in this match against a suspect Dutch defense and get an assist or two.
The Spanish defense has to play well against a Dutch offense that is in sync and has looked great in the playoffs. They will have to mark Arjen Robben and especially Wesley Sneijder, who has scored in every playoff match and is tied with Spain’s David Villa for the most goals scored in the World Cup (5).
Spain has the advantage if this match goes to penalties since they have G Iker Casillas. He was a penalty shootout hero a couple of times for Spain with two saves in the round of 16 match in the World Cup in 2002 beating Ireland and two saves against Italy in the 2008 European Championships. Casillas has 3 straight clean sheets in the playoffs and will make it 4 straight in the finals.
Jason’s Pick to Win: Both teams will come out firing on offense, but the Spanish defense will keep Holland from finding the back of the net. The Dutch will get frustrated, while Spain will pick their chances to score and take advantage of them. Look for Spain to win this match by a score of 1-0 or 2-0 and win their first World Cup trophy.