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The Netherlands vs Spain: Three reasons why the Netherlands will win

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Frank Augstein/AP Photo/File

(Read caption) This July 6 file photo shows Netherlands' star Wesley Sneijder, left, competing for the ball with Uruguay's Diego Perez, right, during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Uruguay and the Netherlands at the Green Point stadium in Cape Town, South Africa.

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After a 32-year wait, the Netherlands finally returns to a World Cup final. Sunday’s Netherlands vs Spain match will give the Dutch the chance to right the “wrongs” of 1974 and 1978 when they were twice the tournament’s best team but lost both finals to the host nation.

Here are three reasons why the Dutch will be rewarded the third time around:

1. The Netherlands will not be in awe of Spain’s tiki-taka passing carousel.

In fact, the Dutch claim they invented it and they are right. Spain is essentially Barcelona with add-ons, and the Catalan club’s footballing DNA was installed by Dutch “Total Football” legend Johan Cruyff. (Cruyff, by the way, is rooting for Spain.) The German players admitted after their semi-final defeat they were intimidated by Spain’s game. But the Dutch will not be. They have played, and played against, this style since they first togged out as five-year olds. They will not sit back and admire this Spanish homage to their own game.

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2. If Spain is Barcelona in disguise then the Dutch have on their side the secret weapon that has already sunk their opponents once this season. Wesley Sneijder proved with Inter Milan that while he might see less of the ball than his Spanish opponents, he knows how to make it count more. Just look at the clips of Inter’s demolition of the Catalans in the first leg of the European Cup semi-final. Sneijder will fancy continuing his scoring run, and creating chances for Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie.


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