Thursday, July 8, 2010
Football fans cheered in Madrid and shed tears in Berlin as Spain set up a World Cup final showdown with the Netherlands at Soccer City, Johannesburg on Sunday, 11 July 2010.
Spain beat the mighty 3 times world champion Germany, 1-0 in a thrilling semifinal clash at Durban, South Africa on this historic day, Wednesday, 7th July 2010.
Carles Puyol, once voted the best defender in Europe by UEFA, and the distinctive mop haired Barcelona veteran deployed to prevent rather than score goals, settled the Durban semi-final thriller by dashing forward to head an Andres Iniesta corner into the net on 73 minutes.
The goal broke the deadlock in a match Spain took a vice-like grip on from the start as a German team becoming used to scoring four goals a game found themselves on the receiving end of a masterclass in possession and passing.
Hail to the Spanish Matadors and the Spanish Armada.
Queen Sofia of Spain
When Puyol scored, almost everybody in Spain including Queen Sofia of Spain and those watching in Madrid, Barcelona or Bilbao and Valladolid and millions more staunch Spain supporters around the globe and other galaxies, erupted into endless mammoth cheers.
Even dying patients on death-beds in hospitals around Spain reportedly got a second chance in life, they were cured miraculously!!!!!
Congratulatons to the La Furia Roja (The Red Fury)...!!!
Hail to Puyol, Spain is Puyol and Puyol is Spain. Will the male and female human populations sport the same Mop style hairstyle as Puyol?? We will see.
Well, Spain progress all the way into the 2010 World Cup final is indeed historic, for their best achievements was 4 quarterfinal appearences in the 1934, 1986, 1994 and 2002 World Cups.
In their last 12 World Cup appearences, Spain failed to qualify to the semifinal stage, despite featuring some of the world's best players from best known clubs in the universe - Real Madrid and Barcelona and hosting one of the world's best soccer leagues - The La Liga, therefore earning the unwanted nickname - the perrenial underachievers!!!
This time, Spain proved otherwise.
The solid pillar of attack and defence of the La Furia Roja spearheaded by Barcelona's Puyol, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Barcelona bound Super Striker - David Villa as well as Liverpool's Fernando Torres and Real Madrid's Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Xavi Alonso has sent the mighty Germans packing.
Spain recovered well at the 2010 World Cup after a shock start, a 0-1 loss to modest Switzerland in their first group match on June 16, 2010.
The Matadors went on to beat Hounduras 2-0, Chile 2-1, Portugal 1-0 (2nd round), Paraguay 1-0 in the quarterfinal and the German 1-0 in the semifinal held on 7th July 2010.
After the final whistle was blown by Hungarian referee, Viktor Kassai to end the Spain - German encounter, 'Red Fury' supporters all over the globe leapt in the air, waved red and yellow scarves and Spanish football was the sole topic of conversations in Madrid, Paris, Washington, London, Kuala Lumpur, Kiulu, Sabah and Phnom Penh, and the North and South Pole, throughout the day as night fell.
Spain is now only one match away of winning football's greatest and biggest prize.
Meanwhile, stunned Germans, told a few days before by legend Franz Beckenbauer that the team was "perfect" after drilling a total of 12 goals past Australia (4-0), England (4-1) in the 2nd round and Argentina 4-0 in the quarterfinal , openly wept at another failure against Spain.
The countries also met in the 2008 European championship final in Vienna, Austria and the result was the same 1-0 margin, with Liverpool striker Fernando Torres the scorer on that occasion.
"Germany is upset and tears are flowing up and down the country," admitted mass-circulation German daily Bild. "No matter how tough it may be to accept, the defeat was deserved."
Spain next opponent in the 2010 world cup final, the Netherlands are one tough customer and no easy meat as well.
The Netherlands recorded 6 wins out of 6 matches, including sending home the mighty 5 time world champions Brazil, with a 2-1 win in the quarterfinal.
Spain and Netherlands have been competing in the World Cup since 1934 but never met which only adds to the intrigue ahead of a final that will attract a sell-out 90,000 crowd to a western outskirt of Johannesburg.
Pre-tournament favourites after only two losses in two years - against the Swiss and the United States in a 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup semi-final - Spain will retain that status going into the climax of the month-long event.
But the Dutch, runners-up to hosts West Germany and Argentina in the 1974 and 1978 finals, losing 1-2 and 1-3 respectively, have an even better record at this World Cup than Spain, winning all six matches.
They reached the final with a 3-2 victory over tournament surprise packets Uruguay in a Cape Town clash settled by goals from Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben within four second-half minutes.
Like Dutch counterpart Bert van Marwijk, Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque pleaded with his celebrating stars to keep their feet on the ground ahead of the second all-Europe final in a row with Italy defeating France in Berlin.
"Of course we must celebrate this victory but we will do so with moderation. We will not be blinded by success. We will enjoy this and then start preparing for the final," stressed the former Real Madrid coach.
"There is nothing more difficult or precious than to win a World Cup. But we still have to play the final. We cannot start bragging or get too conceited yet.
"We looked to win the ball and keep it for the entire match and the players did their job magnificently," said the man who courageously axed misfiring Torres for the semi-final.
"The triumph is even bigger because of the size of the opponent. You could say Germany were less strong than expected but that was because our team did a great job. The bottom line is we played better than they expected."
While Spain and Netherlands moved to the South African financial capital, Germany and Uruguay headed for the Eastern Cape city of Port Elizabeth and a third place play-off on Saturday.
Go Puyol, Go Matador, Go David Villa, Go La Furia Roja!!!!! Win your first ever world Cup!!!