Spanien världsmästare!

Italien besegrades i VM-finalen i morse med 2-1 av Spanien. Stor hjälte blev Javi Rodriguez som för dagen hade rollen hörnstoppare. Som sådan fick han tre stenhårda mellan benen och på den tredje fick han bäras av banan…

Här följer ett referat från vår vän Steve Harris i Australien:

This game will go to the side with the nerves of steel, as it is a cauldron of tension here, with neither team giving up a thing.

While both teams are rotating their players well, Spains attacking punch is coming from Marcelo and Javi Rodriguez, who are able to plant themselves on
the Italian side and actually work with the ball at their feet. Cool, professional support is coming from Julio, Kike, and Orol.

Italy took quite a bit of time to achieve its first build-up, as Spain is experienced enough to know that this is a team that you cannot give any momentum to. The Spanish tactic of holding onto the ball while shaking off the initial full-pitch press did wonders to prevent any Italian danger in the early minutes of the game.

But the Azzurri have gradually been getting through courtesy of Bacaro and especially Foglia, who apparently has not been in top form this tournament.
The lethal shooting of Edgar Bertoni has also forced a great save by Luis Amado, who, ironically, was almost done in by Javi Rodriguez, who dummied through a harmless ball he assumed Luis would scoop up!

Kike rattled the crossbar at 15 min when volleying a loose-ball produced courtesy of a fine save by Feller, the Italian goalie. Other than that, the clear chances have been few and far between.

It was a bit unusual to see a manager, Nuccorini, out on the floor encouraging the Italy supporters to cheer before the match, but I guess this team is really pumped. Even the Italian journalists in the press
sections sang the national anthem with arms around each others shoulders before the game. Kind of creepy, when you consider the fact that only one
Italian-born player was on the pitch when the starting whistle blew: Zaffiro.
No double penalties yet because the players have been careful (although provocation by the Italians is blatant and being ignored, particularly by
the Brazilian referee Paixao).

In the second half, Spain drew first blood when a Kike free kick snuck into the lower left corner of the Italian goal. The ball seems to have deflected off of an opponent, possibly Zaffiro.

Still, the balance of power remained more or less even, with both sides loathe to make any risks. Javi Rodriguez, though not a scorer today, was somewhat of a hero by playing the unenviable role of corner-kick blocker. The last time the teams had played, Italy put in two on corners, and Spain was not about to see this happen again. So Javi put himself in the line of fire, three times receiving hard hit corner kicks right in the testicles! After the third time, he went down for the count.

One minute later, Marcelo pulled out that rabbit we had been waiting for. Andreu, deep in Italian territory, squared to the Brazilian-born pivot, who
chipped the ball up to himself and GK Feller committed. Marcelo only had to volley home into an open goal. Spain 2, Italy 0.

At 30 min, Italy initiated its first ”power play” by bringing Feller up to the halfway line. They would try this three times without success for about six minutes before giving Bacaro the keepers jersey for a true five-man attack. This led to some wildly long Spanish shots that never came close and Italian shots that screamed achingly near.

Amid unbearable tension and chaotic scrambling, Foglia made a penetrating run in the dying seconds, getting the ball to Edgar Bertoni on the left. Bertoni sent through a hard and fast pass to Zanetti (Seco) at the second post. A touch was all that was needed to finally give Italy its first goal of the game. But it was too little too late, as only 36 seconds remained on the clock. Spain played out the clock and achieved its second consecutive world championship.