The sport of soccer is highly criticized in the United States by many fans because of many reasons. One of the most talked-about things heard throughout the recent 2010 World Cup excitement was that it’s hard to get into watching a sport when you don’t really know when the end will come. The other, and more prominent was a general complaint about a lack of scoring.
According to the Associated Press, FIFA President Sepp Blatter is looking into changes for the 2014 World Cup that may address some of these concerns.
The goal of any future changes would be to discourage teams from running out the clock by holding the ball defensively and to create more sense of urgency for the offensive side of the game.
In the discussion of possible changes are removing the current rules around extra time. With extra time added at the end of halftime and regulation to accommodate for injuries, substitutions and other delays of the game, the actually timing is only kept by the referee. Putting an end to the extra time could possibly mean that the “golden goal” is brought back for games that would go into overtime. To us in the States, that’s the same as sudden death overtime, which is common in American football and in hockey.
At the World Cup in South Africa there were a handful of games in which it appeared that certain teams went out playing “not to lose” as opposed to playing to win, not a good thing for the fans of any sport. No matter where you’re from, you want to watch teams play to their highest capability.
Everyone wants to see their team win, but ironically, had these possible changes been in place before, Team USA would not have made it out of the first round.
Would these changes make the 2014 World Cup in Brazil better or worse?
Spain’s first World Cup Championship will be one that is celebrated for years by the fans of the “La Furia Roja.” Fans might not get the chance to hold on to the real FIFA World Cup Trophy, adidas has created a celebratory tee shirt that serves as a nice alternative, and a nice way to show pride for this year’s World Cup Champions.
Available now: adidas World Cup Trophy in Hand Tee Shirt
It wasn’t necessarily the match that everyone expected, but it ended in the most appropriate score. The Spaniards had emerged victorious in their previous three knockout round matches by the score of 1-0, so why would the final be any different?
While the focus of the match seemed to be on the aggressiveness of both teams, resulting in the most yellow cards ever issued in a World Cup Final Match with a total of 14, it was the persistence of Spain’s offense that prevailed. The Dutch were handed 8 yellow cards, as well as a red card that left them a man down for the last minutes of the extra time. That’s what gave Spain the slight edge they needed to grab their first title.
The day was meant for Spain and Andres Iniesta who put in the winning goal at the 116th minute. Spanish goal keeper Iker Casillas also landed himself a well deserved Golden Glove Award as the tournament’s top goal keeper, and the final match he was flawless, stopping all five of Holland’s shots on goal.
For the Spanish team it finalizes a remarkable year in which they also won the European title, a feat only accomplished by two other nations, West Germany in 1974 and France in 1998.
Diego Forlan of Uruguay was awarded the Golden Ball for top player of this year’s tournament, and Germany’s Thomas Mueller was awarded the Golden Boot award for top goal scorer with five goals. Mueller edged out Diego Forlan, Wesley Sneijder of Netherlands, and David Villa of Spain who also had five goals, by adding three assists to his performance.
Wesley Sneijder in the Nike T90 Laser.
Robin Van Persie in the adidas Predator X.
Arjen Robben in the adidas F50 adiZero.
Arjen Robben in the adidas F50 adiZero, tackled by Carles Puyal in the Nike Tiempo.
Sergio Ramos in the Nike T90 Laser after a missed goal opportunity.
Fernando Torres in the Nike T90 Laser replaces David Villa in the adidas F50 adiZero.
Andres Iniesta in the Nike CTR 360 shoots the match-winning goal.
Golden Glove winner Iker Casillas celebrates the victory in the Reebok Valde II Pro.
Spain celebrates their first World Cup title.
This year’s World Cup, like every World Cup, has been filled with controversy and complaints. Everything from the officiating, to the ball, has been blamed for teams losing and players own shortcomings. Yet somehow, there are still a handful of players that have been able to put up impressive goal scoring numbers in their race for the Golden Boot Award, and subsequently two teams still with a shot at the title. So it seems maybe some are just better at adapting to “adversity” than others. Beating whatever adversities are thrown at you along the way can be attributed to the mental toughness. It takes mental strength to win the ultimate prize for your country. Finding the mental strength when you are playing against the world’s best is a difficult task, but it is exactly what it will take to win Sunday’s match.
As the Oranje and La Roja Furia teams prepare for the final match of this year’s World Cup at Soccer City Stadium in South Africa, they’ll use the same best practices as they always do regardless of who their opponent is. For each team their approach to the game is quite different, yet equally effective.
The Spaniards, ranked 2nd in the world, have controlled the tempo of every match. Scouring their opponent’s defense for weak points until they ultimately find the one and only striking point needed to win. The Spanish approach is intricate and precise, and with talented players like Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, and Andres Iniesta who play for FC Barcelona together, and Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid, the team is the equivalent of the USA Basketball Dream Team. Then on top of that you add the country’s best player, David Villa, who is currently the top goal scorer of the tournament, and there is no question why Spain has reached their very first World Cup Final this year. The only slip-up in what has been an otherwise perfect path to the title match was the first game of the tournament against Switzerland, where Spain lost 1-0.
For the Oranje, the 4th ranked team in the world, their team may not be about precision and control, but they play with a passion and excitement that seems to be matched only by their fans. In fact the Dutch have not lost a match so far. The Dutch will look to capitalize with furious attacks on any and every mistake. Like Spain, the Flying Dutchmen won all of their qualifiers. However unlike the Spaniards, Netherlands has not lost a match in the tournament, despite being down 1-0 against the world’s top ranked team, Brazil. The Dutch came back to win 2-1 thanks to two goals from their top goal scorer Wesley Sneijder, who combined with Arjen Robben, makeup one of the best attacking offenses in the tournament. A completely different approach than their next opponents, but proven to be effective in getting Netherlands to the final match.
No matter who wins, it will be the country’s first World Cup title, and one of the most important matches in their country’s history. Nothing will be withheld, and everything will be on the table. For Spain, patience is not only the key to victory but their greatest asset. For Netherlands, pushing that patient offense of the Spaniards into a mistake will be the key to victory. If there is any slight mental advantage for either team, Netherlands knows that Spain can be beaten, the Swiss did it. Will that be enough of a mental edge to overcome patience and precision of Spain?
As great as both these teams are, it is truly too close to call. We will have to watch Sunday at 2:30 PM EST on ABC to find out.
images via yahoo
The Spaniards controlled the ball and played the match that would allow them to beat Germany, and that is exactly what they did.
Spain consistently attacked the German defense throughout the first half, trying to find a weakness in their armor. Like their previous matches, this match went to the half scoreless. Spain missed a few opportunities, but Germany had few opportunities. Then mid way through the second half, Carles Puyol headed in the only goal scored in the match.
Like most of the games Spain has won, only one goal was needed to lift the team passed their opponent. However this one could easily be the most important goal in the country’s history, as it gives them their first ever appearance in the championship match of the World Cup Finals.
Spain will take on Netherlands on Sunday to decide who this year’s FIFA World Cup trophy winner will be.
David Villa of Spain in the adidas F50 adiZero and Arne Friedrich of Germany in the Nike Tiempo.
David Villa of Spain and Lukas Podolski of Germany both wearing the adidas F50 adiZero.
Per Mertesacker of Germany in the adidas Predator X and Andres Iniesta of Spain in the Nike CTR 360.
Pedro Rodriguez of Spain in the Nike Superfly and Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany in the adidas adiPure III.
Miroslav Klose of Germany in the Nike T90 Laser and Gerard Pique of Spain in the Nike Tiempo.
Spain celebrates the goal that send them to their first ever World Cup Finals.
Carles Puyol of Spain heads in the game winning goal wearing the Nike Tiempo.