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World Cup 2010

World Cup Final: Match Day Commentary

SpainNetherlands

The 2010 World Cup is set to come a close with the highly-anticipated final between Spain and the Netherlands today at Soccer City (2:30pm, ABC).

The Spanish come in as slight favorites, but today's final is fully expected to be a closely-contested affair, a battle between Spain's creativity and the Dutch team's strength and discipline.

If you haven't already ready enough World Cup preview material, here are some more items to read:

My Preview Column for Fox Soccer

Five Keys to Today's Final

If you are wondering about my prediction for today's match, I have Spain winning, 2-1 (And for the record, I said Spain before Paul the Octopus did).

I will be providing commentary throughout the day and through the final, so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Today's commentary is after the jump):

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FINAL– That's all for me. Thanks for following along tonight, and be sure to share your post-match thoughts in the comments section below. 

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FINAL– Spain receives the trophy and the celebration is in full swing.

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FINAL– Dutch receive their runner-up medals. Not a happy bunch. van Marwijk rips the medal off as soon as he leaves the stage. You feel for van Brockhorst, playing in his final World Cup.

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FINAL– Referee Howard Webb being honored now as Dutch fans rain a chorus of boos on him.

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FINAL– If you want to point some blame, you can start with Robben, who failed to finish when the chances came. He had two golden opportunities to score, but on both occasions Iker Casillas got the better of him. 

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FINAL– Credit to the Dutch national team for an impressive run through this World Cup. They fought valiantly in the final, and came close on a few occasions, and walk away with nothing to be ashamed of. 

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FINAL– Iniesta is the magic man yet again. Much like he did against Chelsea during Barcelona's dream Champions League run in 2009, he found a way to finish when the team absolutely needed it. 

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FINAL– SPAIN 1, NETHERLANDS 0. Iniesta is the hero on a night where much didn't separate the two teams.

Howard Webb will be roundly criticized, and he definitely missed some calls, but Spain finished the play they needed to while the Dutch failed to capitalize on their chances. 

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121st Minute– Not over yet.

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120th Minute– Two minutes of additional time.

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119th Minute– Two minutes for the Dutch to do something. They can't lose their cool.

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118th Minute– Iniesta with the ball from Fabregas, and the beautiful finish. Dutch are complaining, but he was definitely onside.

Spain 1, Netherlands 0.

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117th Minute- GOAL SPAIN!!!! INIESTA with the finish!!!!! WOW

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116th Minute– Free kick deflects off the wall but Webb gives a goal kick. Missed call.

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115th Minute– Elia does well to draw a free kick from about 40 yards out, straight at goal. Nice move by the youngster.

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113th Minute– Torres with a predictably awful touch. He doesn't look quite right. Xavi and Iniesta may have to work some magic on their own.

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111th Minute– Van Der Weil with a yellow card, actually got a hand on Iniesta's trailiing leg to knock him off stride.

Spain can't do anything with the subsequent chance.

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110th Minute– Xavi's free kick goes well over.

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109th Minute– RED CARD!!! Heitinga pulls down Iniesta as he headed toward the penalty area. Dutch down to ten men and Spain has a dangerous free kick.

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108th Minute– Does either team have much left? Spain has ideas, but can't make the final pass. The Dutch have some speed to work with, but aren't getting enough of the ball.

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106th Minute– And we're back. Fifteen minutes left.

If Torres pulls something, you'll know why. He hasn't really been warming up vigorously.

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OVERTIME HALFTIME– Fernando Torres is coming on for Villa. 

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106th Minute– One minute of added time.

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105th Minute– Edison Braafheid comes in for van Brockhorst.

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104th Minute– Nice run down the middle by Fabregas, but his shot goes wide. He's looked good since coming on.

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102nd Minute– Spain still has one sub left. Will it be Torres? He has been standing on the sidelines, not really warming up well.

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100th Minute– SPAIN COME CLOSE, but Navas' shot is deflected just wide.

The corner goes begging.

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99th Minute– Iniesta with a good pass to him, but he gets run off the ball after failing to lay it off to Villa.

Van der Vaart comes in for de Jong.

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98th Minute– Spain corner. Goes wasted.

Dutch set for another sub, with van der Vaart ready to come in, probably for Robben, who looks tired.

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97th Minute– Another van Bommel foul, but no second yellow for him.

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96th Minute– MATHIJSEN MISS. He had a chance for a header from close, but didn't know much about it.

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95th Minute– SAVE STEKELENBERG!! Stones Fabregas. What a CHANCE.

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93rd Minute– Crazy sequence leads to a Spain corner. Spain can't threaten with it.

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91st Minute– And we're back.

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END OF REGULATION– Spain 0, Netherlands 0. A very tactical battle, with neither team giving up much. The Dutch created a few great chances, but Casillas got the better of Robben both times. Spain has moved the ball well, but haven't created dangerous chances aside from Sergio Ramos missed free header. 

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90th Minute– Three minutes of added time.

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88th Minute– van Persie correctly ruled offside on a dangerous sequence for the Dutch.

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86th Minute– Cesc Fabregas is on for Xabi Alonso, who was largely invisible today.

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85th Minute– Give the Dutch credit. They've been so tough to break down in the middle that Spain is resorting to long switches and long passes.

Cesc Fabregas is set to come on.

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84th Minute– Robben joins the yellow card club after yelling at Webb for a foul on his breakaway. Sorry Arjen, it's not Webb's fault you can't finish.

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81st Minute– Robben breaks in behind the Spain defense again but Casillas forces him into a bad touch yet again.

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80th Minute– Great move by Iniesta, but Heitinga closes him down beautifully.

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78th Minute– Spain with a corner.

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77th Minute– WOW, RAMOS MISSES A FREE HEADER. He streaks in and can't get a clear header on frame.

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76th Minute– Howard Webb admonishes Sneijder.

Mata and Torres warming up for Spain.

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75th Minute– Villa shanks the free kick. Wasted chance there.

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74th Minute– Spain with a dangerous free kick.

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72nd Minute– The Dutch have proven nearly impossible to break through up the middle. Villa can't be happy. Neither can Spain's playmakers.

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71st Minute– Elia comes in for Kuyt. He gives the Dutch a real speed threat on the left, and will force Sergio Ramos to defend more.

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68th Minute– BLOCK OFF THE LINE!! Villa with an open net but a Dutch defender gets a foot up to deflect it away. Wow, that was close for the Dutch.

Eljero Elia is set to come in.

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67th Minute– Van Persie starting to get more involved now. He's proving to be a handful for Puyol.

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66th Minute– Capdevilla gets a yellow for taking out van Persie on the run. Surprisingly, he's one of the few defenders without a card before that.

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65th Minute– Spain is starting to press. Can the Dutch respond?

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60th Minute– SAVE CASILLAS!!! Robben on a breakaway but Casillas makes a clutch kick save.

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58th Minute– We've got a sub coming on and it's Jesus Navas for Pedro. Navas is a quick winger who should be able to cause some problems for the Dutch wings.

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57th Minute– Heitinga gets an early start on the free kick and gets whistled.

Dutch fans are hating Villa right now.

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56th Minute– The Dutch get a free kick from far out on a suspect foul on Sneijder.

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55th Minute– Heitinga gets a bit of a harsh yellow card for fouling Villa. Definitely a foul, maybe not a yellow.

Villa gets whistles as he comes back onto the field.

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54th Minute– Xavi can't get his free kick to dip under the crossbar, sending it over.

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53rd Minute– van Brockhorst with the yellow card for fouling Ramos. Spain has a good free kick opportunity, above the right corner of the area, 28 yards away.

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52nd Minute– Dutch playing well right now as the Spanish look a bit sleepy.

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51st Minute– There is van der Weil trying to get forward, but his cross goes beggin. He's trying to force the issue.

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47th Minute– Capdevila whiffs on a back-post volley of a Puyol header. Bad miss.

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47th Minute– Iniesta=Effortless and graceful. DeJong=Effortfull and graceless.

Spain corner.

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46th Minute– van der Weil's first touch in an attacking posiiton leads to a bad pass. The Dutch fullbacks haven't attacked nearly enough.

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46th Minute– And we're back. No subs.

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HALFTIME– Spain with a 56-44 possession advantage, but only one shot on goal, which came on Ramos' header. The Dutch have three shots on goal, though only one was truly dangerous (Robben's near-post look. 

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HALFTIME– Will we see Rafael van der Vart in the second half? With van Bommel and de Jong both on yellows you wonder how long van Marwijk sticks with them.

For Spain, you have to think we'll see Torres, though his pre-game mood didn't seem to be of a player who was interested in playing today. We could see Cesc Fabregas at some point. 

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HALFTIME– Stekelenberg with the save of the half to stop a dangerous Ramos header. The Dutch haven't really come that close, save for Mathijsen's awful whiff on the back-post. 

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HALFTIME– Apparently the Spanish media aren't happy with Howard Webb. Personally, I think he's done a good job trying to cut out the fouling. Now, about that de Jong Mortal Kombat kick, he probably could have given a red card. 

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HALFTIME– Spain 0, Netherlands 0. The Spanish have had the better of the play, but couldn't beat Stekelenberg. The Dutch attack had some moments, but they're losing the possession battle pretty badly.

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47th Minute– Anybody else find it interesting that for all the star power in the English Premier League, the two players representing the league in the World Cup final are Dirk Kuyt and Johnny Heitinga?

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46th Minute– SAVE CASILLAS, stops a near-post chance by Robben.

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45th Minute– Two minutes of added time.

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43rd Minute– Wow, van Bommel just sold a dive. He can foul AND dive. Versatility.

Okay, I'll stop the Dutch hate-fest, but they're not making it easy.

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41st Minute– Remember when the Dutch played beautiful soccer? You know, before they became the Cobra Kai?

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39th Minute– van Bommel with another foul. What's the record for fouls in a tournament? He must have it, right?

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38th Minute– Pedro with a speedy run and promising shot that goes wide. He needs to get more involved in this one if he wants to stay on the field.

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37th Minute– Joris Mathisjen with a bad miss on the back-post, but really, did we expect him to bury that? He's Joris Mathijsen.

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35th Minute– Dutch fans trying to urge on their team. Will it help? They've gone a bit flat.

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34th Minute– How good is Puyol? Quality defender, gives his all. Easy to root for.

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33rd Minute– Some sportsmanship from the Dutch, who gave back the ball rather sloppily.

We've hit a bit of a lull.

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26th Minute– Odds we see a first-half red card? 10-1.

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25th Minute– Yellow for de Jong for a kick to the chest of Xabi Alonso. Wow. He sure gets his money's worth for his cards. And people say I rip on him too much.

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24th Minute– Lots of early cards, but they have been fair cards. Defenders need to know they can't leave their feet for tackles. Hopefully this leads to cleaner soccer and less cynical fouling.

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22nd Minute– Sergio Ramos is in the books now with Webb's fourth yellow of this match. Webb's trying to cut out all the leaping tackles.

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21st Minute– Van Bommel gets a deserved yellow for an ugly late challenge on Iniesta. Let's see how that changes the way van Bommel plays.

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19th Minute– Robben is starting to find some success against Capdevila. The Dutch are starting to get out of their own half now.

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17th Minute– Sneijder's long-range blast is saved by Casillas, who is so key to what Spain does. He's a rock in the back for them.

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16th Minute– Puyol with a yellow card for a foul on Robben. He gets there late. Another yellow for Webb. He's trying to clean things up.

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15th Minute– Van Persie with a yellow for a foul on Capdevila. Second time he's come in late on someone. Webb sets the tone with that card.

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13th Minute– Spain has looked good in the final third, but some uncharacteristically shaky moments in the back are a cause for concern.

Van Bommel with a foul on Puyol. Let's see how many he commits before he's warned by Howard Webb.

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11th Minute– Ramos is WIDE left by a foot. Great volley attempt, but he can't put it on frame.

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10th Minute– There's Ramos again, with another dangerous foray that leads to a corner kick.

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9th Minute– If you are following along with the commentary today, please let me know in the comments section.

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8th Minute– The Dutch nearly given a gift, but Sneijder can't put more on the shot off a rare Spanish turnover.

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6th Minute– Spain on the attack and the Dutch are absorbing the pressure.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk with some nice ball tricks. Don't think Vicente Del Bosque can pull that off.

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5th Minute– SAVE STEKELENBURG!!! Wow, what a one-handed stop, denying a Ramos header.

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4th Minute– Both Ramos and Capdevila are involved early. They're pressing the Dutch already.

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3rd Minute– How good is Spain in tight spaces? They could knock it around in a phone booth.

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2nd Minute– van Persie with an early foul on Busquets. Money wasn't on van Persie being the first Dutch player with a foul.

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1st Minute– And we're underway.

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PRE-GAME– We're almost ready for kick-off. Stadium is buzzing. World Cup Final, here we go.

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PRE-GAME– A fan ran onto the field and came within inches of grabbing the World Cup trophy only to be pushed away at the last minute by a security guard. Crazy.

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PRE-GAME– It's almost game time. Let's hear some predictions.

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PRE-GAME– Fabio Cannavaro, captain of the 2006 Italian World Cup championship team, came out with the trophy. He will present it after the match.

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PRE-GAME– Torres eventually did join warm-ups, though he looked thoroughly miserable.

Will he be a factor off the bench, or will he be too glum to be an impact player?

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PRE-GAME– Fernando Torres is standing on the sidelines, not warming up. Not sure if he's hurt or upset about not starting. Does he figure it's not worth warming up since he's not starting? Odd indeed.

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PRE-GAME– Here come the Dutch, and their applause is deafening. The Netherlands definitely has the edge in crowd support.

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PRE-GAME– So much for that. Spain has come out onto the field, with a loud applause greeting them.

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PRE-GAME– The teams haven't come out to warm up yet, but we're just 45 minutes from kickoff.

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PRE-GAME– Here is the Dutch team's starting lineup (no surprises):

——————van Persie—————-

Kuyt————–Sneijder———-Robben

————de Jong—–van Bommel——

van Brockhorst——————-van der Weil

————-Mathijsen—-Heitinga————

——————-Stekelenberg—————-

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PRE-GAME– Nelson Mandela made an appearance after the end of the Closing Ceremony. A truly electric moment in the stadium.

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PRE-GAME– Lineups are out. Here is Spain's (same as against Germany):

——————Villa——————-

Pedro————Xavi———–Iniesta

———–Alonso—-Busquets———-

Capdevila–Pique–Puyol——-Ramos

—————-Casillas————-

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PRE-GAME– We're an hour and a half from kickoff but the place is packed with fans enjoying the Closing Ceremonies. Yes, Shakira already came on already. Not a bad ceremony.

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PRE-GAME– If you aren't watching the World CUp closing ceremonies I suggest you do so. Some brilliant stuff.

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101 comments
  • Mason

    Clumsy, nothing. It was excessive and a textbook send off. When you can tell what brand boot one guy was wearing by looking at the other’s chest, chances are someone came in with enough force to injure.

    Like

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