July 7, 2010
BERKELEY - CalBears.com chatted with California head coach Kevin Grimes after the Spain-Germany World Cup semifinal to get his thoughts on the latest action.
CalBears.com: Spain defeated Germany today, 1-0, to join the Netherlands in Sunday's final, as you predicted. How did Spain look against the Germans?
Kevin Grimes: Spain looked very good. They controlled most of the game against Germany, which is obviously a difficult thing to do against a Germany team that has played very well in the World Cup. It should be a great final.
CalBears.com: Any chance the Netherlands will sit back as much in the final as Germany did in the semifinal?
KG: These are two of the better teams in terms of possession, so I think the Dutch will try and impose their style onto Spain, and I think the winners is going to be who's better on the day. Both these teams are in real good form right now. With the Dutch having an extra day's rest, I still think the advantage is going to go to the Dutch. I'm going to stay with my prediction of three weeks ago. It's lining itself up to be a great final. Spain has never been to the final and Holland hadn't been there in 32 years.
CalBears.com: Would you bench an out of form Fernando Torres again in the final - in favor of Pedro or someone else - or would you start him against the Netherlands?
KG: There could have been an injury issue we're not sure of. He's coming off knee surgery in April. It's hard to say without being in their camp. Whatever they choose to do, they're still a very dangerous team as they showed today.
CalBears.com: Should Germany have opened up more in the first half, or would Spain have beaten Germany by more if that had happened?
KG: It's hard to say. They definitely played conservatively and hadn't played that way most of the tournament. Maybe they tried to do that in the first half and hoped to get a good chance to score in the second half, and they did have a chance in the second half but couldn't score. I don't think they played with the same attacking passion they had in the rest of the tournament. Was that Spain or was there some other reason?
CalBears.com: Thomas Mueller's yellow card in the quarterfinal win over Argentina cost him a spot in the semifinal and perhaps contributed in a big way to Germany's loss. Was that a bad call on what looked like an unintentional handball?
KG: I do. It was an unintentional handball. It barely hit his arm if anything. To give a yellow card for that was harsh. That's going to go up there with all the other blown calls in this World Cup. That cost that young man a semifinal game against Spain. They're a good enough team to play without him, but he is a talented player.
CalBears.com: Who's been the best player in the World Cup?
KG: I would say either Spain's David Villa or Holland's Wesley Sneijder at this point. Both those guys have been difference makers on the scoreboard for their teams.
CalBears.com: What's your prediction for Saturday's third-place game between Germany and Uruguay?
KG: The teams will definitely play hard. You might see a lot of players who didn't play in the World Cup up till now play in that game. You're going to see a lot of energy from those players, who want to have a good showing. I think you'll see a good match; probably Germany coming out ahead. The coaches and the players of these two teams will want to win the match.