This is getting silly now. Yesterday, I offered evidence to show the similarity between Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s semi-final strike and one he scored a few months beforehand. And now it’s a case of déjà vu after Carles Puyol’s winner for Spain last night.
Here’s his bullet header from El Clasico in 2009…
Uncanny, right? And goalkeeper Iker Casillas must have allowed himself a wry smile at the other end, seeing as he was picking the Puyol header out of the net during that derby match. Spain’s win really was as comprehensive a 1-0 as you’re ever likely to see. Sometimes, you can talk up a game as much as you want, but if one team doesn’t perform, then all bets are off (and speaking of bets, it’s been said that the largest ever World Cup wager was placed on the match, with the unlucky European punter losing just over $630,000 by betting on Germany to make it through.)
And a few quick stats to finish: Sunday’s finalists have never met before in a World Cup or European Championships. If Spain wins, they’ll be the first side to lift the World Cup despite losing the first game. And if the Netherlands takes it within 90 minutes, they’ll match the Brazil 1970 side’s achievement of winning every game in the tournament without the need for extra-time or penalties.