The Netherlands and Spain are considered the two best teams never to have won a World Cup Championship, but that will change for one team on Sunday. The 2010 World Cup Finals championship will be played by two high quality teams and promises to crown a first-time champion.
Road to the World Cup:
The Netherlands were heavily favored to take Group Nine and they easily lived up to those expectations by winning the group. Their qualification group was the smallest of the UEFA qualifying groups and consisted of the Netherlands along with Norway, Scotland, Macedonia and Iceland. The Netherlands qualified for the World Cup Finals with eight victories in eight matches. They scored 17 goals while giving up only two.
At the 2010 World Cup:
The Netherlands played their first two matches of the World Cup Finals without their winger Arjen Robben, who was injured. Even still, the Netherlands was the clear favorite in Group E where they defeated Denmark, Japan, and Cameroon. The Netherlands and Argentina were the only teams to win all of their group matches.
With Robben injured, Coach Bert van Marwijk used Dirk Kuyt on the right side of midfield and Rafael Van der Vaart on the left as the wide players supporting forward Robin Van Persie. Attacking mid Wesley Sneijder has the ability to come deep to start attacks and also to get forward to support them or finish them off.
See photos of key Netherlands players below
Robben made his first appearance as a sub in the third group game against Cameroon in the 70th minute. He set up the winner soon after when his shot rebounded off the post to Huntelaar who put it into the net.
Sneijder leads the team with five goals and is tied for the World Cup scoring lead with Spain’s David Villa.
Against Uruguay, Van Marwijk replaced two starters because of suspension. Demy De Zeeuw took Nigel De Jong’s central midfield spot, and Khalid Boulahrouz replaced Gregory Van der Weil at right back but neither replacement lasted the entire match.
Joey Mashaw, a Wichita soccer enthusiast, points to the quarterfinal match against Brazil. “The Netherlands had Brazil looking foolish. That’s huge. I think they can beat Spain,” said Mashaw.
While they are the underdog in the World Cup Finals championship match against Spain, the Netherlands are a formidable opponent in this match. With a victory, the Netherlands would be the first team to win a championship after having lost the championship match twice before.