It was supposed to be the game of the tournament, but became a microcosm of it- high anticipation followed by disappointment.
For that, Spain should not be blamed. They have struggled in this tournament to reach their full, devastating potential, but this largely results from the inferiority of all other teams. The opposition know that if they open up, they play into the hands of a hugely talented side. So they sit back, play for scraps. Spain's greatness is defined as much by the TEMPO as by the TIPPY-TAPPY, and when the tempo is lacking, as it mostly has been during this World Cup, it does not make for much of a spectacle. One team laboriously builds measured moves from inside their own half, while the other waits to strike on the break. There were hopes, after their recent counter-attacking successes, that Germany could cause Spain some serious problems. Instead, the suspicion that they'd been flattered by the weakness of their earlier opponents was confirmed.
At a time of recession in international football, Spain boast filthy riches.
Casillas is among the best goalkeepers in the world (and so are his understudies, for that matter).
Iniesta, Xavi and Fabregas, who barely gets a game, are the outstanding creative midfielders in the world.
Villa and Torres, despite the latter's struggle for form, are two of the finest strikers in the world.
In other words, Spain have a virtual monopoly on the best attacking talent, and their possession play is so adept that the relative deficiencies in their defence are practically rendered irrelevant.
No wonder teams seem to exhibit an inferiority complex against them.
Negative opposition notwithstanding, they have some tired looking players. The main man in midfield, Xavi, looks a little jaded. But a jaded Xavi is still good enough to teach "flavour of the month" Schweinsteiger a thing or two about running a game. While they havn't scored many or hit close to top gear, they've won their games fairly comfortably. A Brazil-Spain final would have been a fascinating contest, a Nadal-Federeresque clash of styles; instead, it will be Spain- Holland.
The clash of styles may be even more pronounced, with Holland's midfield adhering to the questionable principle of kicking everything that moves, spherical or otherwise. But if Holland have Brazil's dash of panache, they havn't really shown it yet, and I expect class to win out.