Aragones says Spain ready to win WCup vs. Dutch

Published Jul. 11, 2010 2:39 p.m. EDT

Spain's best chance to win the World Cup is by dominating the Netherlands in midfield, according to former coach Luis Aragones.

Both Spain and the Netherlands are hoping to win their first World Cup at Soccer City.

''Whoever owns the midfield, owns the game,'' Aragones told Al-Jazeera on Sunday. ''The midfield is where (the Netherlands) commands its game. But Spain has more players in midfield that can dominate then the Netherlands has. If Spain commands possession and plays at a high tempo then it's very possible they are going to beat the Netherlands.''

Spain's game of probing passes and quick touches based on holding possession originates out of its talented midfield, which is made up of players like Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso and Cesc Fabregas. Aragones believed Spain's decision to put faith in this system six years ago could now bear the ultimate reward.


''We don't have players who are very physical so that's why we decided to go this way since we have such a good team of technical players,'' Aragones said. ''We decided to make holding on to the ball our virtue - to defend with the ball, to attack with the ball, everything centered on maintaining possession with everything stemming out of the midfield.''

Aragones guided Spain to the 2008 European Championship triumph which ended 44 years of futility in major championships. He believed that victory over Germany in the final in Vienna had unlocked all Spain needed to be successful in South Africa.

''The Euros provided the important psychological lift for us and now the team has shown that in both the technical and psychological aspects that it's a strong team,'' the 71-year-old Aragones said. ''Physically and psychologically, Spain are ready.''

Keeping the dangerous Dutch midfield in check was the key, especially playmakers Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben.

''The Netherlands always presents tremendous difficulties because they are such a technical team, with players like Sneijder and Robben who are their base,'' Aragones said. ''I think (left-back Joan) Capdevila is going to have to be careful because Robben is much quicker than he is. And in the center, (Carles) Puyol is going to have to keep a close guard on Sneijder.''