Spain, Dutch set for World Cup final battle

JOHANNESBURG: Spain and Holland championed unity as the key to Sunday’s World Cup final battle while Germany’s impressive collection of young talent set out their stall for the 2014 title by clinching third place.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque believes victory at Johannesburg’s Soccer City can strike a blow for national cohesion, a day after a million people marched in northeastern Spain in support of Catalan autonomy.

“There are players from all over Spain here in the squad, we are united and I hope the same feeling of unity occurs back in Spain,” said Del Bosque.

“I think sport does many good things and I hope football could lead to better relations in our country.”

Barcelona supplied seven of the starting line-up when Spain beat Germany in the semi-finals with that figure likely to be replicated when del Bosque’s stylish side look to add a first world title to their European crown.

Dutch skipper Giovanni van Bronckhorst also stressed the significance of team spirit as he confirmed there had been none of the tensions between players that have hampered Holland’s chances of success at previous tournaments.

“I think the spirit in the camp has been extremely important,” said Feyenoord star van Bronckhorst, who will retire after Sunday’s final.

“As players you have to spend six or seven weeks together to achieve your goal and I believe, if the atmosphere is good off the pitch, it will be good on it – you will go that extra mile for a team mate.”

It has not always been like that for the Dutch, whose chances of success on the international stage have been frequently sabotaged by squabbling.

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