ESPN Analysts: Spain To Top Netherlands And Hoist World Cup


As was the case before the 2010 World Cup tournament kicked off, ESPN analysts are giving the nod to Spain in today's final versus The Netherlands from Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg today.
Before things began on June 11, six of 13 ESPNers picked Spain to win it all. Now, seven of the nine TV, radio and studio analysts surveyed believe that La Furia Rojo will get to hoist the coveted trophy, with only Alexis Lalas and Ruud Gullit -- not surprisingly given that he played for Holland -- having allegiance to the The Clockwork Orange.
As it stands only Lalas, with Netherlands over Spain, and Efan Ekoku, with the reverse outcome, forecast the finals correctly. As for today, the former predicts a 3-2 win for the Dutch, while Ekoku says it will be 2-1 for Spain.
Either way, an eighth nation will be crowned World Cup champion. Here's how ESPN's experts see the July 11 match that kicks off at 2:30 p.m. on ABC:

ESPN match analysts:

Efan Ekoku (Nigeria 1994 National Team player)
Spain 2-1. "The more adventurous style of the Spaniards and their greater belief in themselves, having won the European Championship in 2008, is likely to overcome the Dutch cautiousness in the final."

John Harkes (USA 1990, 94)
Spain 2-1. "Spain will win because of the quality of the individual players and the way they come together as a team. They have gone from strength to strength and overall, player for player, Spain has too much quality for the Netherlands to cope with." 

Robbie Mustoe
Spain 3-1. "Spain always had the best squad, quality and experience with the most entertaining style of play. When Fabregas can't get in the starting lineup you know this team is special." 

Tommy Smyth
Spain 2-1. "We haven't seen the best of Spain yet. Spain needs their strikers to start scoring but if they continue to miss opportunities like they have in previous games, I can see this going as far as penalty kicks." 

ESPN studio analysts:

Shaun Bartlett (South Africa 1998)
Spain 2-1. "Spain are peaking at the right time. Holland, in my opinion, have already played to their full potential. Spain will have more quality players to draw on to come out on top." 

Ruud Gullit (Netherlands 1990)
Netherlands 1-1. "I think the Dutch will win in overtime."

Alexi Lalas (USA 1994, 98)
Netherlands 3-2. "The Netherlands finds a way to capitalize on the weaknesses out wide and whether it's Dirk Kuyt or higher up, finding ways to go by Capdevilla or Sergio Ramos, then putting balls in the box that they capitalize on."

Roberto Martinez
Spain 3-1. "Both teams are trying to play the same way but Spain are better at what they are trying to do and they are more mature" 

Steve McManaman (England 1998)
Spain 3-0. "They were my favourites coming into the tournament, they are the bookmakers' favourites and they're playing the best football."