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Netherlands v Spain

Cruyff tips Spain to beat Dutch

July 9, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Dutch legend Johan Cruyff has tipped Spain to beat his native Netherlands in the World Cup final, claiming it would be better for football if their Barcelona-style play won out.

Johan Cruyff in charge of Catalonia
AFPJohan Cruyff managed Barcelona from 1988-1996

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Cruyff has had significant influence on both the World Cup finalists. He helped drive the Netherlands to new heights with their Total Football in the 1970s and his lasting impression as a player and coach on Barcelona has filtered through to this Spain team, which is mostly made up from representatives of the Catalan club.

While Bert van Marwijk's Dutch team has adopted a more measured approach to ensure their progress to the South Africa showpiece, Spain continue to play a dominating, possession-based style of football, albeit without a flood of goals to show for it, that Cruyff appreciates most.

"Spain is now the great favourite," he wrote in El Periodico de Catalunya on Thursday. "Del Bosque's team has grown in strength and finds itself in the final at the top of its game. Yesterday evening Germany, which put on a display against Argentina, played football which would have been enough to beat any team but not Spain.

"But not Spain. If Spain goes for you, it kills you. There's no doubt that Germany knew what it was going to go through, just like Holland is probably thinking now. If you go up against a team that wants to keep the ball, you're going to suffer.

"Spain, a replica of Barca, is the best publicity for football. Who am I supporting? I am Dutch but I support the football that Spain is playing."