Thanks to Will, we have a quick capsule for the World Cup Final. I like Spain, 2-1, but both teams are loaded with elite world talent that many of us are quite familiar with. This should be quite wonderful.
Here is what Will put together:
Spain is the reigning European champions, having won the UEFA European Championship in 2008. Spain also won the European Nations' Cup in 1964 and reached the UEFA Euro 1984 Final. Spain has qualified for the FIFA World Cup thirteen times, reaching fourth place in the 1950 tournament In July 2008 Spain rose to the top of the FIFA World Ranking for the first time in its history, becoming the sixth nation to top this ranking, and the first who has never won the World Cup. Between November 2006 and June 2009 Spain went undefeated for a record tying 35 consecutive matches before their loss to the United States, a record shared with Brazil, including a record 15-game winning streak.
Iker Casillas- Plays for Real Madrid in Spain’s La Liga and has played in 110 international caps for Spain. Strengths: As the last line of defence in a team that often pays scant regard to such an art, Casillas gets plenty of practice and frequently demonstrates his impressive reflexes, superb agility and innate ability to pull off a spectacular save. His forceful personality and will to win ensure he is a born leader. Weaknesses: His aura of invincibility has been slightly dented in recent years due to a handful of mistakes and he can be slightly rash when rushing off his line.
Sergio Ramos- Has scored 5 goals in 66 caps with Spain and is teammates with Spain captain Iker Casillas on Real Madrid. Strengths: Ramos boasts real versatility but his finest asset is his impressive stamina and determination to provide an attacking threat from right-back. Full of energy, quick and always looking to get forward, Ramos complements his robust defending by providing a real threat at set-pieces. Weaknesses: His admirable endeavour can leave him exposed at times, particularly when his sense of positioning is awry following a foray forward. His temperament has also been questioned after a string of red cards in recent seasons.
Cesc Fabregas- Fabregas is one of the few Spanish players that play club football in England playing for the always contending squad Arsenal. In 53 international caps he has scored 6 goals. Strengths: A quite superb passer of the ball who possesses both excellent vision and the ability to dictate the pace and tempo of a contest. Has a strong character and mentality to complement his technical excellence. Weaknesses: Fabregas is largely impeccable for his club but a lack of real pace is noticeable. He is also less potent in front of goal than would be expected given his brilliant use of a football.
David Villa- Last season Villa played his club football for Valencia, but will play at the start of the 2010 season for Barcalona. Villa has had a stunning World Cup scoring 5 goals and leading Spain to its first World Cup Final. Strengths: Villa is a consummate finisher. His clever movement, excellent touch and deadly aim allow him to exploit any chances granted to this most resolute and determined of characters, but he also selflessly contributes with a number of assists. Weaknesses: Like many of his international team-mates, Villa lacks height and real physical presence.
Fernando Torres- Nicknamed El Nino Torres shows off his talent in the EPL for Liverpool. In 79 international caps Torres has scored 24 goals. This world cup has not been his best since he is coming of knee surgery. Strengths: A born goalscorer, Torres possesses all the attributes needed by a world-class striker. He is quick, strong, impressive in the air, blessed with expert technique and is cool and collected in front of goal as well as having an eye for the spectacular. Weaknesses: The suspicion remains that Torres can be distracted from his task by some physical attention from defenders, while he can be isolated if service is not forthcoming.
World Cup Record: 23 Wins- 12 Draws- 15 Losses
World Cup Appearances and results Since 1990
1990- Round of 16
1998- Round 1
2006- Round of 16
Wesley Sneijder- plays for the Italian Serie A club Internazionale as a midfielder. In his first season at the Italian club, Sneijder won the European Treble, consisting of Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League. In 09-10 with Inter Sneijder scored 8 goals in 41 appearances. He has also scored 17 international goals in 66 caps with the Netherlands. Strengths: Quick, strong and powerful with accurate shooting ability. Can shoot accurately with both feet.
Robin van Persie- He currently plays for Arsenal, where he is vice-captain. He joined the team in 2004 earning £2.75 million. He won the FA Community Shield and the FA Cup in his first season with the London club and went on to win the 2006 Rotterdam Sportsman of the year award. In 49 international caps with the Netherlands he has scored 19 goals. Other awards he has won include Arsenal Top Scorer in 06-07, and 08-09, he also was the Premier Leagues top assist provider in 08-09. Strengths: With pace and skill in abundance, this forward can change a game in an instant with his ability to achieve the improbable. He is technically excellent with the vision to unlock a defence too.
Arjen Robben- plays for the German Bundesliga club Bayern Munich where in 2009 he contributed to Munich’s league title. In 50 International caps he has scored 14 goals. Strengths: Able to take on and beat defenders at the drop of a hat, Robben's ability to get to the byline and deliver in accurate crosses instils fear into any defence.
World Cup Record: 21 wins-10 losses-10 draws (Made the finals in 1974 and 1978)
World Cup Appearances and Results since 1990
1990- Round of 16
1998- Semi Finals (4th Place)
2002- Did Not Qualify
2006- Round of 16