FOOTBALL is all about space making space, coming into space and making sure the space is fully utilised. That was how former Cameroon and Ghana coach Claude Le Roy explained his philosophy to this writer when the Frenchman was pitching his tent in Kuala Lumpur in 1994-95.
Football too is about making choices. For Spanish attacker Pedro, he made the wrong choice by going solo instead of passing to Fernando Torres during their 1-0 semi-final win over Germany. It would not be wrong to assume that Torres would have added a second and kill the game.
The most difficult thing in life, is choices. Every player usually has three options on the field. So one has to choose and make decisions in a split second. It is burnt in the Dutch psyche that creating fast, compact-passing triangles is the way to play. It is embedded in their culture that every player has to understand the whole geometry of the pitch.
In David Winner's highly acclaimed book Brilliant Orange, former Ajax Amsterdam star, Jan Mulder, lamented the emphasis on winning over style.
"In Holland, we are system mad and the world doesn't know it. The world thinks we always play attacking football but we play with the handbrake on.
"All this passing at the back ... tick-tock, backwards, sideways, tick-tock ... it's boring. Too much fear, too much caution."
Modern coaches, according to Mulder, think too much about this simple game.
"The talent of the players is decisive. One could always play naturally. No thinking please. No thinking!"
Still Mulder must be happy to see his countrymen again in a World Cup final.
Their opponent, Spain, is in a fiesta and siesta mood but not the avuncular former Real Madrid coach, Vicente del Bosque.
Shortly after Real had marched into the Champions League final during the centenary year, beating fierce rivals Barcelona in the semis in April 2002, del Bosque uttered: "Solo celebramos los trofeos (we only celebrate winning trophies)."
The defensive midfielder in Vujadin Boskov's line-up when Real lost 1-0 to Liverpool in the 1981 European Cup final, del Bosque has kept his emotions in check throughout the World Cup. On the seven occasions the Spanish bench erupted into joy celebrating their seven goals so far, del Bosque remained composed and nonchalant.
The writer has decided to refrain from predicting the outcome of the final, enough by saying both teams deserved to be in the final for having had the courage to adopt a positive and attacking pattern throughout the campaign. It would, however, be nice if the land that gives the world Real Madrid and Barcelona is finally acclaimed as the best in the world ... and for del Bosque to finally celebrate with unbridled joy.
And now, we shall revisit the writer's first column:
Best team award
Brazil, seeking their sixth title armed with the distinction of being the only nation to lift the Cup outside their continent, in Sweden 1958 when Pele was unveiled to the world and again in Japan/South Korea in 2002, when the gaped-tooth Ronaldo reigned supreme. They lost to eventual finalists, The Netherlands
Argentina, with proven scorers Gonzalo Higuain and Diego Milito not likely to start alongside each other and a legend as manager, who lacks the ideas in how best to gel the team together. Outplayed by the Germans in the last eight
The Netherlands, boasting one of the most creative midfields and strikeforce, aim to become only the eighth nation to win the Cup. They are in the final
Spain, Euro champs and arguably the best purveyors of possession football, attempt to emulate West Germany 72 Euro win/74 World Cup victory. So are they
Germany, dismiss the Teutonic efficiency at your own peril, despite missing the injured Michael Ballack. Took the competition by storm
Top-scorer award, officially known as the Golden Shoe
Wayne Rooney, who has added header as part of his deadly repertoire. Oopppsss
Cacau, Brazilian-born attacker donning German colours. Scored one goal but got injured
Robin van Persie, hungry for goals after an injury-plagued season. One goal so far ...
Gonzalo Higuain, Argentine master marksman at Real Madrid. Four goals and the only hat-trick of the tournament
Robinho, lithe and tricky across the pitch. Two goals, including one against the Dutch
Samuel Etoo, treble winners with Barcelona and Inter Milan. Two goals
David Villa, heading to Barcelona after the World Cup. Five goals so far
Wooden spoonists, Golden Raspberry Award
North Korea, not likely to repeat the 1966 exploits. Told you so
Honduras, despite having Spurs midfielder Wilson Palacios running the engine room. Told you so
Best player, or Golden Ball
Robinho, likely to overshadow Kaka as the beacon of light for the boys from Brazil. Oops, but he did overshadow Kaka
Lionel Messi is out of this world but can his teammates keep pace? His teammates could not, that's the problem
Cristiano Ronaldo tends to overdo it but remains a potent force, especially with his free-kicks. Oops
Wesley Sneijder, treble winner with Inter Milan and eager to supply the ammunition for his fellow Dutchmen. Shall I say I told you so?
Carlos Dunga has succeeded in forming a team in his playing mould, no-frills yet effective. Sacked
Fabio Capello will pray his regimented approach pays off. Survived the chop
Joachim Loew has a young team to call upon. Told you so!
Bert van Marwijk may turn out to be a successful Dutch coach. Can he go one better than Rinus Michels (1974) and Ernst Happel (1978)?
Vicente del Bosque has added a new dimension to the Spanish armada. Can he create history?
Darkhorse of the tournament
Mexico will play beautiful football. Told you so!
Chile are rich in Latin flair. Told you so!
Slovakia may be debutants but rich in football tradition. Told you so!
Slovenia represent the Soviet elements. Failed to advance to the second round by a mere point
Italy are too old to contest. Told you so!
France, a team divided. Told you so!
South Africa stare at early exit. Told you so!