Question of the day: Who will win the World Cup final? [Updated]
Reporters from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
[Updated at 11:20 a.m.:
Grahame L. Jones, Los Angeles Times
For once, the World Cup has produced a final without a team in a black hat. There are no bad guys here; both teams play splendid, stylish and entertaining soccer. So whether the Dutch or the Spanish prevail on Sunday matters only to the Dutch and the Spanish. Everyone else can sit back and enjoy.
That said, who is likely to win? The Netherlands has the weight of history, having already lost finals in 1974 and 1978 when it was the better team. Can't happen a third time, can it? Spain is the best team in this tournament, collectively and individually.
It's an absolute tossup, but a lot will depend on whether the Dutch learned from the Germans' mistaken semifinal strategy. The Spanish players need to be pressured and harried all over the field. It takes commitment and energy, which the Dutch have. The right game plan and execution takes the trophy to Amsterdam, 2-1.]
Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant
But let’s consider Spain’s success over the Last three years. The 2008 European champion had a 35-games unbeaten streak and a 15-match winning streak before the loss to the U.S. last year. In overall matches dating back to the ’08 European Championships, Spain is 32-2.
So let’s be clear: Spain is and has been the best team in the world.
That’s why it’s hard to pick against this team in Sunday’s World Cup title game.
After a well-played victory over Germany in the semifinals, the Spaniards are playing their best soccer as they face the Netherlands.
The Dutch have won 14 in a row and can’t be taken lightly, but Spain simply has more talent and depth. Can the Dutch play an aggressive style to scratch out a victory? Maybe, but I'm going with Spain in a tight, low-scoring match.
Bob Foltman, Chicago Tribune
The safe pick would be Spain. It's hard to go against the reigning European champions who were also one of the favorites heading into the tournament. Spain has also turned around an image of not showing up for big games.
So Spain would be the easy pick, which is why I'll back the Dutch.
The Netherlands knocked off Brazil in the quarterfinals and a determined and organized Uruguay in the semis. The Spanish have done the minimum to get through, posting three straight 1-0 scorelines.
That won't be enough against the Dutch. Wesley Sneijder is attempting to pull off soccer's equivalent of a grand slam -- winning the league title, cup and Champions League with Inter Milan and add the World Cup, while Arjen Robben's return from injury has turned the Dutch attack up a notch.
The Netherlands are considered the best country to never win the big prize. That will change Sunday. Netherlands 2-1.
Upper photo: A Netherlands soccer fan. Credit: Oliver Weiken / EPA.
Lower photo: A Spain soccer fan. Credit: Arturo Rodriguez / Associated Press.