San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Perennial Contenders Vie for Title

On Sunday, one European nation will be celebrating its first-ever World Cup title while another will undisputedly earn the distinction of the best team to never win a World Cup.

Holland and Spain, two long-time European soccer powers, have historically entered the World Cup tournament as favorites to contend for the title. Curiously, neither has stood on the podium as world champions at the tournament’s end. This year will change that.

Holland, which has won all six of its matches in the 2010 competition, lost in the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals. Spain, which entered this year’s ranked second in the world, has never qualified for a World Cup final. In several previous tournaments, the Spaniards have bowed out in the quarterfinal stage, failing to live up to the high expectations traditionally held for their team.

This Sunday night, one of these nations will hoist the golden trophy as World Cup champions.

“We will play for the whole of Holland,” said Holland coach Bert van Marwijk. “I do not think in terms of revenge (for the previous World Cup final defeats). I will watch the game without thinking about historical statistics. We haven’t experienced winning a final and neither has Spain.

Spain deserved to beat Germany. I like the way they played, and we will play our way against them. We respect them, but we are not afraid of them.”

The joy of watching the World Cup final, which usually starts sloppily as both sides overcome early jitters, will be the technical precision that characterizes both team’s play. Holland and Spain have succeeded thus far by threading opposing defenses with crisp, fluid passing, dominating possession, and stifling opponents with compact, organized defenses. The meeting of their similar tactics should make for an entertaining affair that could come down to a single stroke of brilliance by one of the 22 world-class talents who will be standing on the field.

Isn’t that exactly how the wonderful month-long event should come to an end?


FIFA 2010 World Cup Final

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. (Costa Rica)

Where to Watch:


* Holland fans will watch the game at the Jazz Café, located on the south side of the Caldera highway in Escazú.


* Spain fans will assemble at the Casa España en La Sabana, located 150 meters north of the Rostipollo in Sabana Norte.


* Spain fans will also watch at the Club Campestre Español located in San Antonio de Belén de Heredia, 100 meters north of the Cementerio de la Ribera.

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