And then there were three. Holland are now in the World Cup Final, awaiting the winners of Spain vs Germany tonight, after the clog-happy tulip munchers glided past Uruguay last night.
A fairly dull first half was livened up by two cracking goals, one from Giovanni van Broccolihorse for Holland and one from Diego Forlan for Uruguay, where that wacky ball actually held a straight and true line from boot to net each time. In the second half, it all went decidedly Holland’s way, apart from the last two minutes of injury time when it seemed like the referee was prepared to keep going until Uruguay scored again, having snatched a second goal in the 92nd minute.
Eventually, after about five minutes, he finally blew and the Uruguayan dream was over. Watching the natives celebrate the first goal in Montevideo was wonderful: it was like they’d won the World Cup itself. God knows what it would have been like if Uruguay had actually won the World Cup. Possibly the country would have spontaneously combusted and disappeared into the Atlantic. It’s probably for the best that they didn’t get through.
Still, on the upside, they’re not on the next plane home because they get to fight it out for third place on Saturday evening with whoever fails to make it through tonight’s game. Currently the fourth best team in the world, they could feasibly become the third best team in the world. Not too shabby for the second smallest sovereign nation in South America, is it?
Tonight’s game is about giants of Europe: Spain vs Germany, the spicy chorizo vs the hefty bratwurst. Yes, it’s the Smokin’ Sausage Smackdown, as the stop-start Spaniards attempt to repel the remorseless German machine (TM). Can’t see it happening, meself, but what does our panel think, after its reassuringly clean sweep yesterday?
Here are today’s predictions from our panel:
- Dr Ian McHale, a Senior Lecturer in Statistics at the University of Salford: “I will go with the model again: Spain to beat Germany.”
- David Williams, head of PR at Ladbrokes: “I think Germany will beat Spain on penalties.”
- Chris Day, goalkeeper for Stevenage FC: “Spain 3-1.”
- Laura Daligan, ‘psychic, artist and pin-up’: “I feel Germany are becoming unstoppable.”
Our panel is split down the middle, like the Dutch defence by a Brazilian pass. Of course, we all know how that turned out. These are just predictions, of course – what will the reality be? Why not add your comments and predictions below?
Remember: this is just for fun and all predictions are for entertainment only. Any mortgages lost or other sums squandered based on the information supplied are your own responsibility! And yes, I will keep mentioning this every day. Even deep in to injury time.
Incidentally, if you want to read our magazine feature on the science of football prediction, I can heartily recommend it. If you’re not much of a reader, wear your eyeballs out on the accompanying football predictions video.