Saturday July 19 2014

The difference is the same


Rio de janeiro.
At South Africa 2010, the world stood up for a first-time champion in Spain. On Sunday night, history was made when a European team Germany were crowned champion for the first time on South American soil.

Beyond that, there were plenty of similarities between the World Cup finals of 2010 and 2014. For starters both games ended in 1-0 scorelines. And likewise both games were scoreless at half and fulltime. The two finals were also goalless after first half extra time.
The winner in 2010 was struck by Spain’s Andres Iniesta in the 116th minute. Mario Gotze’s winner was struck in the 113th minute, a dissimilarity of only three minutes.

Iniesta and Gotze are 5’7 and 5’9 respectively.
When the image of Brazil President Dilmar Vana Rousseff came upon the giant screen, she was roundly booed like South African leader Jacob Zuma.
Then there is the streaker moment. It looks increasingly like putting a fiver on a streaker at a World Cup final is a good gamble.

In South Africa, it was the famous (or is it infamous) Jimmy Jump who interrupted the final. Here it was Russian Comedian Vitaly Zdorovetskiy who enjoyed his moment of notoriety before the watching world.

There are trivial resemblances between the two finals too.
In 2010, Holland arguably had the palpable opportunities before a dominant Spain claimed the title.

At the Maracana, Argentina had the more open chances before Germany, the better team, triumphed.
Equally of significance is the small matter of the axis of a dominant club. When Spain lifted the trophy, they were steered in no small part by the Barcelona brigade. Barca were not European champions at the time (Inter knocked them out in the semis but Italy stayed in the group stage) but they were acknowledged as the mightiest team on the continent. Eight Spanish starters were from Barca. Germany on the other hand can thank Bayern Munich’s hegemony.

Six of the starters against Argentina were Bayern players and even though the Bundesliga side are not European champions (Real knocked them out in the semis but Spain never advanced from the group stage), they have been arguably the strongest side over the last three years on the continent.
One last fact shared by both editions is that the team that won the trophy was from another continent.