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World Cup to See 1st-time Winner Sunday

Posted July. 09, 2010 11:39,   


Spain and the Netherlands have never won a World Cup soccer title despite being world powers in the sport.

The two teams could finally break the jinx when they face off in the tournament final Sunday at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Spain edged Germany, 1-0, in the second semifinal Wednesday, to set up a showdown versus the Netherlands, which survived Uruguay in the earlier semifinal, 3-2.

The third-place match between Germany and Uruguay will be held in Port Elizabeth Saturday.

Just seven countries have won the title in the previous 18 World Cups: Brazil (five), Italy (four), Germany (three), Argentina and Uruguay (two each), and England and France (one each).

The Netherlands has come up short twice in the World Cup final, while Spain is playing in its first title game. Both teams are perennial favorites in the tournament but have never won it.

In 13 World Cup appearances, Spain saw its highest finish of fourth in 1950. Sunday`s game will be the Spaniards` first World Cup final in 60 years.

The Netherlands finished runner-up in the 1974 and 1978 tournaments.

The competition between the teams’ leading scorers is also fierce. Spain’s David Villa (FC Barcelona) and the Netherlands’ Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan) are tied for the tournament goal lead with five each.

In its six matches before the semifinals, Spain scored seven goals and allowed two, while the Netherlands put in 12 and gave up five. If either Villa or Sneijder leads his respective team to the title, he will likely win the Golden Ball, which is awarded to the tournament’s most valuable player.

The player from the winning team could claim three trophies: the World Cup, the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot.