PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 25: David Villa of Spain celebrates scoring the opening goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group H match between Chile and Spain at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on June 25, 2010 in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Spain displayed a surprising level of dominance throughout the World Cup. Whereas other teams might periodically not dominate possession from the moment the game started, the Spaniards never blinked.
|Opponent||Minutes Tied||Pass F/90||Weighted||Pass A/90||Weighted||% Passes||Weighted|
It seems surprising that they were less dominant during group play, putting up middling numbers (for them) against the Chileans and a weak Honduran side. But once they got up against good opponents, they made sure to control the play.
One sign of a team being way better than its opponents is its ability to control possession even when they have the lead. Normally, a team will play defensively when it's up a goal and concede the ball in order to prevent higher-quality scoring chances. Spain never really gave the ball up when it was beating most of its opponents:
|Opponent||Minutes Up 1||Pass F/90||Weighted||Pass A/90||Weighted||% Passes||Weighted|
It wasn't until they came up against the Germans that they actually needed to back off a bit. Despite their loss to the Swiss and a few shaky moments against Paraguay, this looks like the best team's textbook path to winning the World Cup.
If anyone could have challenged Spain, it would have been Argentina or Brazil, but each of them eliminated themselves long ago with a bad game. The Dutch and the Germans simply weren't up to the task.