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Spain need to turn dominance into goals against Dutch

Johannesburg: Spain have reached their first World Cup football final despite managing just eight goals in six games en route to Sunday`s date with the Netherlands at Soccer City.

Only three Spain players have found the net in South Africa, with David Villa`s five goals making the Barcelona striker responsible for the lion`s share and also making him the tournament`s joint top goalscorer alongside Holland`s Wesley Sneijder.

Midfielder Andres Iniesta, who has managed two, and Spain`s goalscoring hero against Germany, Carles Puyol, are the only other players to have made it on the scoresheet, a situation that is certain to give coach Vicente del Bosque food for thought ahead of his side`s date with the Dutch.

Del Bosque finally ditched the out of sorts Fernando Torres for Pedro in the semi-final against Germany and while the Barcelona striker troubled goalkeeper Manuel Neuer with a well-struck second-half shot, it took a defender`s header to eventually break the deadlock.

`Pedro was an alternative. It was a difficult decision because Torres is someone everyone likes and is a great player,` said Del Bosque, explaining his decision to relegate the Liverpool striker to the bench.

However, while Spain have struggled to put the ball in the net with any degree of fluidity in South Africa, they have certainly had no problems carving out chances against the opposition.

Against Germany, La Roja had 13 attempts on goal compared to just five for Joachim Loew`s side, a trend that has been replicated throughout the tournament.

In the 1-0 quarter-final victory over Paraguay, Spain had 16 attempts on goal with six on target, compared to the South Americans` tally of four on target from nine attempts.

Spain had 10 attempts on target when beating Portugal 1-0 in their Round of 16 tie, compared to just three for their Iberian neighbours while even the opening game defeat to Switzerland saw eight shots on target from an impressive 24 attempts on goal.

So far only Chile have managed more goalscoring opportunities, although the European champions did sit back in the second half knowing the 2-1 scoreline would ensure their progress to the knockout stages.

But Del Bosque will realise that such profligacy in front of goal could eventually catch up with Spain, especially against a Netherlands side that has racked up 12 goals so far.

Spain`s eight-goal tally isn`t the lowest for a team that has reached the final since the introduction of the group stage followed by a Round of 16 knockout phase in 1986.

Argentina scored just five on their way to the Italia 1990 final where they eventually lost 1-0 to the then West Germany while four years earlier in Mexico the Germans managed just six before losing the final 3-2 to Argentina.

Italy at the 1994 tournament in the United States and France at Germany 2006 amassed eight goals but both sides also fell at the final hurdle, to Brazil and Italy respectively.

IANS

From Zee News

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