Spain coach Vicente del Bosque expects the World Cup final to be “propaganda” for beautiful football, with two attack-minded teams squaring off at the height of their powers.
Spain and the Netherlands feature two of the most creative attacking line-ups of the tournament, and both are expected to come out looking to score early in Sunday’s final at Soccer City.
“The two teams are meeting at a point where they are doing things well,” Del Bosque told The Associated Press in an interview. “Both have players of great technical ability, very creative. It’s going to be great propaganda for world football.”
Both teams are looking for their first World Cup title. The Dutch reached their third final by beating Uruguay in the semifinals, while Spain defeated Germany 1-0 after dominating the entire game. Spain has won 30 of its 32 games under Del Bosque while the Netherlands is on a 25-game unbeaten run.
“It’s an even final between two teams that deserve to be here,” Del Bosque said from the team’s training base in Potchefstroom. “We’ve got good players but so do they.”
Del Bosque said the excitement of reaching Spain’s first World Cup final has already passed, and the team is now down to all business as it focuses on how to break down the Dutch defense.
“The moment of euphoria passed the other day when we qualified for the final and I think we’re conscious of the responsibility we have now,” Del Bosque said. “We’re optimistic and confident in our possibilities. But we’re also aware we’re up against a strong rival.”
Spain’s measured performance against Germany came after 1-0 victories over Portugal and Paraguay in the first two knockout rounds.
“They are examples that should help us when we get to the final,” Del Bosque said. “Portugal and Germany were our best games defensively speaking and in building play, so we should be aiming to improve on that. We’ve played very complete games.”
Spain has never strayed from a possession-based game centering around midfielders Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, and the European champions won’t change tactics now.
“At the last Euro we knew how to play to what the situation needed, we didn’t always have to win by taking the initiative,” said Del Bosque, who replaced Luis Aragones after the Euro 2008 title. “And this team has matured. It’s a complete team.”
Del Bosque said he was unlikely to make many changes for the match, which could mean striker Fernando Torres may be on the bench again, with Pedro Rodriguez in the starting lineup. David Villa, who is joint top-scorer alongside Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder, is expected to start.