La Furia Roja of Spain booked their first appearance in the World Cup final after decades of disappointment. They will face the Netherlands who won all 10 of their qualifiers and 6 on the trot so far in South Africa. The Oranje have endured their own World Cup near misses. In 1974, they lost the final to West Germany, 2-1. In 1978, Rob Resenbrink of the Netherlands struck the post in injury time against Argentina. The Dutch subsequently lost in extra time, 3-1.
In comments published by Marca.com in Madrid, Spain boss, Vicente Del Bosque, hailed the great performance of his side. David Villa, who is the leading scorer at the World Cup, noted that this was their best game to date. Xabi Alonso mentioned how close Spain is to glory. Xavi singled out Carles Puyol as the soul of their defense. Pedro started the game in place of struggling, Fernando Torres, and discussed how these type of matches elevate his own performance.
Vicente Del Bosque: “The players were superb in defense and in attack.”
David Villa: “I believe that it was the most complete game of the national team.”
“Ha sido un partido extraordinario, hay que felicitar a todos los jugadores que han estado soberbios en defensa, en ataque. Ha sido un partidazo“.
“It was an extraordinary game. You have to congratulate all of the players who were superb in defense and in attack. It was a great game.”
“Alemania siempre ha estado en las finales… Es cierto que España ha estado alejada de los grandes eventos hasta ahora… No hay grandes diferencias respecto a 2008. Tras el Europeo nos quedó una impresión fantástica, es verdad que ahora hemos estado más irregulares…La presión sobre Torres no influye porque está acostumbrado a jugar partidos de máximo nivel. Es un jugador avezado. Y de Casillas está todo dicho, es ambicioso y sigue con la misma ilusión de siempre. Está haciendo un gran Mundial y tiene la compañía de dos porteros excelentes. Estamos muy contentos con él y es un líder para nosotros.”
“Germany has always been in the finals… It is certain that Spain has been far away from the great events until now… There aren’t great differences in respect to the 2008 European Cup final. Since the Euro, we have maintained a fantastic run. It’s true that now we have been a little less consistent…
The pressure on Fernando Torres doesn’t influence him because he is used to play games at the highest level. He is a veteran player. And about Iker Casillas, it’s all been said. He is ambitious and follows in the same light as always. He is having a great World Cup and is accompanied by two excellent keepers. We are very happy with him and he is our leader.”
“Creo que ha sido el partido más completo de la selección, el que mejor hemos jugado. Estamos en la final por méritos propios, hoy se ha jugado muy bien. Creo que ellos no querían meterse atrás pero han estado obligados por nuestro juego. Ha tardado en llegar el gol, pero al final el cabezaz del ‘Tiburón’, que ha estado enorme, nos ha metido en la final. Cuando el resultado es 0-0 peligra muchísimo“.
“I believe that it was the most complete game of the national team. The best one that we have played. We are in the final due to our own efforts. Today the team played very well. I believe that they (Germany) didn’t want to play behind the ball but they had to due to our play. It took awhile to get the goal but at the end, the header by Puyol was massive. It put us into the final. When the score was 0-0, it was very dangerous.”
Xabi Alonso: “Now, only a small step remains to reach glory.”
“Había que dar la talla y se ha hecho un partido muy maduro. Ahora sólo queda un pasito para tocar la gloria… Ha saltado como un jabato y ha metido un golazo“.
“You had to get it done and it was a very mature game. Now, only a small step remains to reach glory. Puyol took off like a small jet and scored a great goal.”
Xavi: “Puyol is the soul of our defense.”
Pedro Is The Only Player to Score in 7 Competitions
“La verdad es que nos ha costado muchísimo porque ellos defensivamente han estado muy bien, pero hemos tenido paciencia y al final ha llegado nuestro premio… Hoy e el el día de Puyi, no sólo por el gol. Él es el alma de la defensa… Estamos muy contentos y creo que somos los justos vencedores. No vamos a celebrar nada porque somos prudentes. Aún queda un partido por jugar contra Holanda“.
“The truth is, they pushed us a great deal because defensively, they did very well. But we were patient and at the end, our reward came… Today was the day of Puyol, not only for the the goal. He is the soul of our defense… We are very happy and I believe that we were worthy winners. We are not going to celebrate anything because we are cautious. Another game awaits to play against the Netherlands.”
Pedro es el único jugador de la historia que ha marcado en todas las competiciones oficiales. Lo ha hecho en Liga, Copa, Champions, Supercopa de España, Supercopa de Europa y Mundial de clubes.
Pedro is the only player in history who has scored in all official competitions. He had done it in the Spanish La Liga, Spanish Cup, UEFA Champions League, Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup and the Club World Cup.
“Estoy muy contento de cómo ha salido todo. Estos partidos imponen un poco, pero me han ayudado mucho todos. Hemos tenido bastantes oportunidades de marcar algún gol más ante un gran rival“.
“I am very happy how things worked out. These games impose on you a little, but they helped me a great deal. We had enough chances to score a few goals against a great opponent.”
Spanish source: Marca.com, July 7, 2010.
The beautiful girl interviewing David Villa in the picture up top is Iker Casillas’s girlfriend Sara Carbonero
Steve Amoia is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He writes the World Football Commentaries blog. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Italian soccer school), Football Media, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens.