Three key battles as Spain face the Netherlands

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Battle: Xabi Alonso was on the end of a brutal kick from Nigel de Jong in the 2010 final.

Spain face Holland on Friday night in a mouthwatering repeat of the 2010 World Cup final, which the Spanish won 1-0 in South Africa.

Here we take a look at some of the key battles which could determine the Group B clash in Johannesburg.

Sergio Ramos v Robin van Persie

Fast, powerful, skilful and good in the air, Ramos is possibly the most complete defender on the planet at present and is also a genuine attacking threat as well, as proven by his three vital goals for Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals and final.

Ramos will need to have his wits about him to contain Holland captain Van Persie, though, with the Manchester United striker a prolific scorer at club and international level.

Van Persie has only netted twice in 11 World Cup matches but Spain will underestimate him at their peril.

Jordi Alba v Arjen Robben

Alba was not part of Spain's World Cup success four years ago but has proved a brilliant replacement for Joan Capdevila, offering La Roja solidity and tenacity at the back as well as a crucial attacking outlet down the left.

The Barcelona full-back may have to curb his marauding runs against the Dutch, however, to help deal with the threat of Robben, who is the one of the biggest dangermen in the tournament.

The mercurial Bayern Munich winger has had his fitness problems down the years, but on his day there are not many defences who can handle his direct running and shoot-on-sight style.

Andres Iniesta v Nigel de Jong

The Dutch will need no introduction to Iniesta, who scored the match-winner in the 2010 final between the two, but stopping the Barcelona ace remains a different matter.

Capable of playing anywhere in attack, two-footed and equally adept at scoring goals or creating them, Iniesta has been a key reason behind Spain and Barca's remarkable success over the last half-a-dozen years.

All of the Holland defence will need to be on high alert against Iniesta, but midfield enforcer De Jong could be the man mainly tasked with limiting the 30-year-old's influence and also disrupting Spain's 'tiki-taka' passing style.

The fiery AC Milan man infuriated the Spanish with his infamous 'Kung-Fu' tackle on Xabi Alonso in the 2010 final, where he was lucky to escape a red card, but he will not be afraid to ruffle a few more feathers on Friday.

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World Cup debut for ‘unhackable’ goal technology

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No more controversy: Goal-line technology will be at the World Cup for the first time.

Goalline technology will be used at a World Cup for the first time in Brazil with its backers insisting it is 100 percent accurate and cannot be hacked.

It will come as welcome news to the likes of Frank Lampard who famously had a goal ruled out in England's second round match against Germany in South Africa in 2010 despite the ball clearly crossing the line.

GoalControl, the official provider of the system, re-tested the technology at Rio's Maracana stadium – the venue of the World Cup final – in April ahead of the tournament which starts on Thursday.

"It is 100 percent accurate. The system will work," Dirk Broichhausen, managing director of GoalControl, said at a presentation at the Maracana.

World governing body FIFA awarded the contract to the German company 16 months ago and there will be 14 high-speed cameras at each of the 12 World Cup stadiums to determine if an attempt on goal has crossed the line or not.

There are seven cameras trained on each goal and the cameras each take 500 pictures per second, sending a "GOAL" message to the referee's watch if the ball is in, GoalControl chairman Bjoern Lindner explained.

He stressed, however: "The referee has the last call. He can override the system any time he wants. But he knows the system is reliable."

FIFA tested out GoalControl last year at the Confederations Cup, the World Cup dress rehearsal in Brazil, where it accurately detected each goal.

If the ball does not cross the line then the game will simply continue.

The cameras, fitted out with the latest in sensor technology, are stationed on catwalks around the stadium and measure the position of the ball every two milliseconds to within accuracy of as little as 0.5cm (0.2 inches).

The data is then transmitted over an encrypted system with Broichhausen insisting the technology could not be hacked.

"The system is offline… there is no possibility to manipulate. We did a lot of internal and external testing – I think more than 10,000 shots," he said.

FIFA spokesman Johannes Holzmueller concluded that "we can absolutely trust" the system to work and added it was designed to support and protect referees from the kind of controversy which accompanied Lampard's "goal" that wasn't validated against Germany, despite bouncing more than a metre over the line having come down off the underside of the bar, presaging a 4-1 eventual defeat.

At the time of Lampard's strike, the score was 2-1.

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Five memorable World Cup opening ceremonies

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Historic moment: The late Nelson Mandela poses with the World Cup during 2010 tournament in South Africa.

Sport360 bring you five memorable moments at World Cup opening ceremonies ahead of the 2014 edition in Sao Paulo.

2010 – South Africa

Africa's first ever World Cup – which Sepp Blatter had promised he would deliver when he was first elected in 1998 – enjoyed a sumptuous musical display in Johannesburg with several top national stars performing.

However, the biggest star of all was unable to be there as former president Nelson Mandela had to pull out when his great-granddaughter was killed in a car crash earlier that day.

He did make it to the final but only briefly as a frail figure he was driven round the stadium prior to the Spain and the Netherlands clash.

2006 – Germany

It all started with German supermodel Claudia Schiffer strolling onto the pitch with Brazilian legend, three-time World Cup winner Pele.

However, they looked on bemused as two figures dressed as fairytale characters Hansel and Gretel were assailed on the Munich pitch by polka dancers and their hornblower partners who had been part of the first half of the ceremony but clearly did not wish to leave the scene.

2002 – South Korea/Japan

South Korea and bitter historical rivals Japan co-hosted the finals with the Koreans laying on the opening ceremony and the Japanese given the final.

However, not even being made joint-hosts meant all was peace and harmony between the two countries and Japanese Emperor Akihito was not present at the opening ceremony while FIFA chief Sepp Blatter was roundly booed as he tried to make his first speech as president at a World Cup finals having been elected to succeed Brazilian strongman Joao Havelange.

1994 – United States

Diana Ross may be a soul singing legend but her skills with a football proved to be a talking point at the opening ceremony in Soldier Field Stadium, home to the NFL's Chicago Bears.

Asked simply to kick the football into an open goal she fluffed her lines completely as she sent it wide of the posts.

The ceremony was capped with chat show host Oprah Winfrey falling off the stage.

1978 – Argentina

Opening ceremony was overshadowed by all-round surprise that all 24 teams turned up as there was some reluctance on the part of several players to travel to a country which had been a military dictatorship since 1976. 

Even more sinister was that the venue the River Plate Stadium was just a mile from the Naval Mechanics School (ESMA), a notorious prison camp where opponents of the junta were allegedly tortured.

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