History sparse between two of football’s great nations
Spain against Holland is the World Cup final many football romantics wanted, but surprisingly it will be their first meeting at a major tournament.
Given the sides’ regular appearances at world and continental competitions it seems bizarre that they have only played each other nine times before, with wins split 4-4 and one draw.
The first encounter between the sides was in the Olympic final of 1920, which ended 3-1 to Spain. You can get 18/1 on the Spanish winning another golden ornament after beating the Dutch by the same scoreline.
In 1983 the country’s faced each other twice in European Championship qualifiers. Spain won the first in Seville 1-0 before Holland returned the favour in Rotterdam, with a 2-1 victory.
Holland recorded 2-1 wins over Cameroon, Slovakia and Brazil on their way to the final and with Arjen Robben (8/1 to score first), Robin Van Persie (7/1) and Wesley Sneijder (8/1) all looking near their peak, such a result would not be a shock. It’s 12/1.
In the most recent meetings, Holland won 2-1 again in a friendly in Seville in 2000 before beating the Spanish 1-0 in a friendly in Rotterdam in 2002.
This last encounter between the sides features a few interesting names on the teamsheet. Marc Van Bommel turned out for the Oranjes and will start on Sunday. He’s 10/1 to score at any time.
Phillip Cocu, now Holland’s assistant manager, started and Frank de Boer, another assistant manager at this World Cup, scored the winning goal. A repeat 1-0 win for Holland is 7/1, while a Dutch clean sheet is 9/4.
However, Spain can find lucky omens themselves. Carles Puyol, the man whose goal propelled Spain to the final, played at centre-back that night. He’s 40/1 to score the last goal again.
His partner for that game was the legendary Miguel Angel Nadal – Rafael Nadal’s uncle. With the nephew already tasting glory this summer could the football team repeat his success and win the World Cup for the first time in their history? They are 11/10 to do it inside 90 minutes.