World Cup final: Netherlands to play unfamiliar role of spoiler(Read article summary)
When it plays Spain in today's World Cup final, the Netherlands will face the image of its 1970s self – a team for whom a soccer pitch is as much canvas as playing surface.
On this potentially most glorious of days for Dutch soccer, there is a bitter irony to the World Cup final Sunday.
The Netherlands has reached the cusp of its first-ever World Cup title not by playing the flexible and mesmerizing brand of soccer that it largely invented in the 1970s, but rather by making the same concession that soccer teams the world over have repeatedly made: Winning soccer is more important than beautiful soccer.
Yet it is on this day in particular that that sacrifice will appear particularly galling.