Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Europe’s top teams prove themselves

Three teams remain in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and all three are from Europe. Many people, including me, thought that European power in the World Cup could be coming to an end due to the reduced amount of teams that made it to the Second Round. Now though, with everyone else eliminated, Europe’s top teams look like they are going nowhere.

Spain, Germany and Holland were arguably the three most impressive sides in Euro 2008. Spain and Germany contested the Final, and despite being eliminated in the Quarter Final by Russia, Holland looked devastatingly good in the group. Who can forget the Dutch hammering Italy and France 3-0 and 4-1 respectively. Despite this however, coming into this World Cup Germany and Holland were not seen as potential winners by many. Germany’s young and inexperienced team were written off early and most people thought that the Dutch would not have enough to get past a quarter final with Brazil. Yet where Brazil and Argentina have both fallen short, the top European teams have continued to impress. France, Italy, Portugal and England are all now a long way behind, and a lot of work may be needed to turn them around.

Spain were joint pre-tournament favourites, and while not necessarily hitting their stride entirely as of yet, they have impressed by showing remarkable patience and perseverance throughout. David Villa has continued to show his international class and remarkable goal scoring ability for Spain. 43 goals in 63 internationals is quite superb. Interestingly, the four most obvious candidates for the Golden Boot all still have games to play. Villa and Sneijder are on 5 goals each while Forlan and Klose have 4. With the Third Place Play-off and Final taking place this weekend, all still have a chance to add to their tallies.

Spain v Germany on Wednesday night is a wonderful match up, and is likely to be Germany’s first real test. Although that may sound ridiculous, seeing as they have just beaten England and Argentina, Spain are a different animal. England and Argentina both had massive flaws, in terms of players, formations and defensive capabilities. Germany’s team ethic was far superior, and they destroyed two teams who had massively underestimated them. Spain are unlikely to underestimate the Germans, and they do not have any of the English or Argentinian weaknesses.

Holland are the only team to have won every game; they even won all their qualification games. Germany have dazzled us with a couple of highly impressive demolition jobs. Spain are the only favourites left, and they now know who they must beat to become World Champions.

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