I have yet to get to attend any of the games in this massive world wide sporting event, however a close friend of mine from high school has spent the last three years planning his trip. Staying in communication with him during the sporting event I have come to one conclusion.... I AM GOING TO THE NEXT WORLD CUP!!!
There is not sporting event which the rest of the world is brought together in the same way the world cup connects everyone. You can be from a country such as the USA where a life of luxury is often considered normal, and lose to a team from a third world country such as Ghana. A team can win one world cup and still not even make it out of group play the next.
What about the Olympics one might ask? Rightly so there are a number of countries competing and many more events for a country to excel in. While I agree and accept that one person can gain the entire countries support, there doesn't seem to the same amount of unity a team sport provides. One player can not win the world cup for you. Spain winning this year showed just how important a team is. Yes David Villa did nearly all the goal scoring the strength of the team was defense and controlling the pace of the game. How else can a team win the with the fewest goals ever by World Cup Champion? The team work and unity needed to win a world cup unites the fans of that country and region of the world beyond what any individual performance would be able to provide. Even in the USA this is true, look at the greatest Olympics victory ever was a team sport. Winning the hockey gold medal in 1980 brought the country together more completely than any one gold medal has.
Now on the out come of the World Cup...
I have three German grandparents so a large part of me resents Spain for winning the whole tournament. I honestly believe Germany was the strongest team going into the semis. After playing so well against Argentina it was disappointing so see their performance against Spain. However they had a great tournament other than two games, and were by far the funnest team to watch. On a similiar note it was a great experience for a number of younger German players to get playing time in such a pressure situation. Getting players like Muller out on the pitch and performing as well as they did boads well for the next world cup. Also the way Schwiensteiger ran the middle of the field showed how ready he was to fill the shoes of a great player like Ballack.
To Spain, congratulations you played exactly how you needed to. It was a perfectly put together performance, you were clearly the most consistent team in the tournament. It was slightly boring to watch nearly every single one of your games, but to argue with results would just be ludicrous. My one concern about Spain winning this way is that they won in nearly the exact same way as Italy did four years ago, with defense and controlling the pace of the game. If more and more teams start to play this way the games are going to be less interesting to watch and the pace is going to slow down on international games. I sincerely hope this trend does not continue, and that a high power offensive team dominates next world cup.
The Netherlands, you were one of my favorite teams to watch during the tournament. After the victory over Brazil there didn't seem to be any stopping what may have been the most fortunate team in the tournament. Every team needs to catch a break, and winning in that fashion seemed to show destiny was on their side. (along with a ton of talent and speed) I don't know if there was another team who was in as good of shape as the Netherlands in the entire tournament. The way the team played simply wore their opponents down in the last third of the game. Pressing as high as they did on defense will still maintaining a relentless attack kept all the spectators of the games on their toes.