Thursday, July 8, 2010

The World Cup Final: a game of firsts

Soccer City Stadium

The 2010 World Cup Final will be a groundbreaking game in more ways than one. What's that? You want to know exactly how many ways it will be groundbreaking? You got it — here's why Sunday's match at Soccer City, above, will see a number of firsts...

1. This year's final will be the first time a team from Europe wins the tournament outside of Europe. Only Brazil and Argentina have won away from their home continent.

2. This is the first final that will not feature one of Argentina, Brazil, Germany or Italy.

3. It will be Spain's first time in the final. Their best performance so far is fourth place in the 1950 edition, and this tournament is the first since then that they have even reached the semifinals.

4. This could be the Netherlands' first World Cup victory, if they overcome David Villa et al. They've been losing finalists twice.

5. If you followed the two previous points closely enough, you will see that World Cup 2010 will definitely see a first-time winner.

6. Additionally, it's also the first time the Netherlands will not face the host nation in the final. In 1974 they lost 2-1 to West Germany in Munich, and in 1978 they succumbed to Argentina 3-1 in Buenos Aires.

7. The game will also be the first time either manager has won anything on the international stage. Bert van Marwijk has won the UEFA Cup and the Dutch version of the FA Cup with Feyenoord, and Vicente del Bosque won the Champions League, La Liga, the Supercopa de Espana, the UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup with Real Madrid.

8. It's the first time a psychic octopus has shaped the outcome of the final. If Germany had managed to prevail over the Spanish, this would also have been the first time a mollusk would have had the chance to reveal the outcome of a final before it took place.

9. The final will be the first game in this tournament that Fernando Torres maybe thinks about possibly scoring a goal. If he plays, that is.
10. And finally, the final will give you your first chance to talk about something other then LeBron this week.


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