Spain was clearly the best team in the World Cup and it deserved yesterday’s 1-0 victory over Holland. It controlled the ball and the tempo for most of the match, dominated overtime, and generally played far prettier soccer.
The only thing the Dutch were superior at yesterday — and what they excelled at throughout the entire Cup — was fouling, diving and crying to the referee. The worst, of course, was Arjen Robben — seen here in the midst of his Cry-Baby routine during an earlier match. (This, incidentally, was a rare instance of Robben whining in an upright position; he was so busy trying to draw fake fouls that he was rarely on his feet for more than a minute at a time.)
Some commentators have joked that Robben deserved an Oscar for Best Acting, but that suggests he was convincing in his non-stop flopping. Great acting it was not. At least twice I saw Robben actually grimace and pretend to be in great pain well before he even hit the ground. (At which point he’d curl into the fetal position and clutch at his leg in a manner suggesting that only an immediate amputation could save his life.)
Then there was the constant fouling by the Dutch, most egregiously the first half chest kick of Xabi Alonso by Nigel de Jong. That was the worst foul of the entire Cup and deserved a red card.
So congratulations to Spain, and to Holland–grow up before 2014.
My prediction for the next Cup: Having already fired Dunga, Brazil returns to playing attack-oriented football and wins the Cup on its home turf, defeating Spain 3-1 in the final.
You read it here first. If it happens, I’ll remind everyone of this post. And if it doesn’t, no one will remember I wrote it. That’s the beauty of blogging.