I've been unerringly wrong predicting results at the FIFA World Cup but I am confident that Spain will beat Holland tomorrow morning.
I predicted England to shade Germany then I thought Argentina would be too strong for Germany. After Germany clinically disposed of Argentina I thought the Germans would beat Spain.
Despite my hopeless punditry I think Spain will overcome the Dutch. That'll teach them for wearing that garish orange football strip.
Real Madrid's new manager Jose Mourinho suggested before the World Cup that the strongest club team could be the best international team
While his remarks were generally regarded as more Mourinho flamboyancy, the success of Spain has gone a long way to proving his argument.
Spain relied on six Barcelona players to guide Spain to victory against Germany. Actually, it was seven Barcelona players because striker David Villa, who is the top scorer in the tournament, will join Barcelona in a $50 million transfer agreed to before the World Cup.
Not surprisingly Barcelona's style of play has been transferred to the Spanish team. Both Barcelona and Spain dominate opponents by controlling the ball and stringing together intricate passing sequences.
And that was how Spain beat Germany, effectively suffocating the Germans in midfield and cutting off the supply of ball to their strikers
The German's spent most of the match chasing shadows.
It was Barcelona's outstanding centre back, Carles Puyol, who scored the winner for Spain.
if Holland are to have any chance, they need to find a way to disrupt Spain/Barcelona's controlled game. If they allow Spain to dictate then they will lose.
While football fans have gone ga ga over the World Cup we also need to consider the political and economic context in which the tournament has taken place.
While football is often referred to as 'the people's game ' in South Africa at 140 rand (approximately $35), even the cheapest tickets for group games have been beyond the reach of many people in a country where the average monthly wage is estimated at just over 2,700 rand.
Tickets for a ordinary South African league match typically costs 20 rand. Among the black population, who make up by far the majority at matches, the monthly average wage is just 1,620 rand.
The South African government has also engaged in massive expenditure to build unnecessary new stadiums in a country where poverty is rife and there are woefully inadequate welfare, heath and education systems.
There is little evidence to suggest that ordinary South Africans will benefit economically from the World Cup. Indeed it looks like FIFA will be the biggest benefactor from the World Cup. It will receive more than twice the amount of television license fees than from the World Cup held four years ago in Germany, South Africa will not receive one cent of those revenues.
Some of that money is doled out to the competing nations at the World Cup. The money the New Zealand Football Association will be receiving is money that ordinary South Africans won't see.
The documentary World Cup in Africa: Who really Wins? looks at some of the more unpalatable aspects of the tournament,
Craig Tanner is the director of the documentary. He recently told the New York Times:
'Let’s be clear – this discussion is not about whether the World Cup should be held in South Africa – it is about the manner in which those in power have hijacked a national opportunity, in order to engage in expenditure (for the benefit of an elite minority) which was not required in order to host the tournament. Can there be any question that the new stadiums were built at the expense of South Africa’s poor, sick, homeless, hungry and uneducated?
For those who argue that the construction of the stadiums has provided jobs, there is a simple response: Had the same quantum of funds been invested in construction of hospitals, houses and school facilities, more workers would have been employed.'
You can see a short preview of the documentary here.