Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque
has saluted his side’s history-makers and beamed that nothing beats reaching
the World Cup Final – apart from winning it! Spain gave Germany a sensational
run around to get through to their first ever final, setting up a clash with
Holland in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Carles Puyol’s 73rd-minute winner
was no more than the European champions deserved after a one-sided semi-final.
Del Bosque said: “We must celebrate
the victory but in moderation. We have to keep a balance and we’ll keep our
eyes wide open without being blinded by success. We know what awaits us. We’re
in a World Cup Final.”
Spain’s previous best World Cup
performance was fourth place in 1950 when the final round was a four-team
group. In the week Rafa Nadal won Wimbledon, Del Bosque admitted that Spain’s
football family are finally getting the success they craved for so long.
They are now aiming to become only
the third side in history to complete an amazing European Championship and
World Cup double, joining Germany and France. Del Bosque added: “I can only say
what it means to be in the final.
You see, we have great things in
our country, and one of those great things is sport. We are privileged to have
so many good sportsmen. Football is the locomotive for all these sports, and it
has been yearning for so many years to have major success. I believe that Spain
deserves to be at the top and be triumphant.”
The Germans were chasing shadows
for most of the match as Spain turned on the style to send boss Joachim Low’s
side home with their tails between their legs. Led by their irrepressible
midfield maestro Xavi, the Euro champions were so good the Germans simply could
not touch them. Fittingly, Xavi got the man-of-the-match award.
Surprisingly, the two teams have
played each other only nine times, with each side winning four and one draw.
But the Dutch have had much the better of recent meetings: Spain’s last win
came way back in 1983, since when Holland have come out on top three times out
The two sides share desperation to
win what would be their first-ever World Cup.
“We are so close to writing
history,” said Dirk Kuyt. “This is the third time we have reached the final.
Now we have to win it. We felt before the tournament we had the quality in the
team to win it. We are so close. There is nothing bigger than the World Cup.”