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World Cup 2010 Final Debate: Will David Villa Or Wesley Sneijder Emerge As The True Star Of The Tournament?

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Spain’s David Villa takes part in a training session at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, Saturday, July 10, 2010. (Getty)

July 11, 2010

(KATAKAMI / GOAL.COM)   On Sunday, Spain and Netherlands will meet in modern coliseum that is Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium to decide who will win the 2010 World Cup.

With neither country previously having lifted the world crown, the 22 players involved will take to the pitch knowing that they are one moment of greatness — or, heaven forbid, a moment of madness — away from making history for the homelands.

But for a couple of those 22 players, there is another prize on offer.

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Netherlands’ midfielder Wesley Sneijder smiles during an official training session at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg, on July 10, 2010 a day before they meet Spain in the 2010 World Cup football final. (Getty)

The Golden Ball, for the player deemed the best over the course of the competition, is still up for grabs — with Spain’s talismanic striker David Villa and the Oranje’s skilful midfielder Wesley Sneijder hoping to press home their claim for the crown with one more memorable performance. Not only that, but with five goals apiece both players will also be looking to grab the decisive goal that also edges them ahead in the race for the Golden Boot.

But which one will catapult themselves to individual glory as they try and steer their country to success? Goal.COM UK looks at how the two star players stack up against each other…

David VILLA
VS Wesley SNEIJDER

Statistics

28 Age
26
Barcelona Club
Inter
Striker Position
Attacking midfielder
2 x Spanish cups Club honours

3 x domestic titles in three countries, 2 x cups, 1 x Champions League
64 Caps
66
43 Goals
17
Euro 2008 winner International honours
None

Tournament stats

6 Appearances
6
529 Minutes played
532
5 Goals
5
1 Assists
1
68% Pass completion
71%
53.24km Distance covered
59.9km

Goal.com skill ratings

Shooting
Passing
Composure
Pace
Work rate
Stamina
Strength
Temperament
Who will take the crown?

With Spain the narrow favourites to edge to the title, the smart money suggests that Villa will be one who catches the eye in making a break for top goalscorer and player of the tournament. But Sneijder has already proven during the past month in South Africa that he was more than capable of making crucial contributions at pivotal moments — the quarter-final against Brazil being a case in point — and it would be brave to bet against the former Ajax youngster capping an annus mirabilis in some style.

With little to choose between either man, perhaps tactics will eventually play a defining role. With Sneijder likely to struggle for space as he is hounded by Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso, perhaps the likes of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie will take on more decisive roles for Bert van Marwijk’s side.

As a likely lone striker, however, Villa will have to be at the heart of everything good Spain attempt in the final third. Likely to be given the ball in dangerous situations on a number of occasions, the new Barcelona man has more than enough quality to punish the likes of Johnny Heitinga and Joris Mathijsen for any positional errors they make.

Villa has proved his enviable international goalscoring record is no fluke by coming up with the goods whenever his country as needed him to so far in South Africa (barring the all-round abherration in the first game against Switzerland) and expect to do that again on the biggest stage of all as he edges Sneijder for the individual awards.

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