Vuvuzelas Blare For The Final World Cup Match Spain meets the Netherlands in the final match Sunday in South Africa. Whichever team wins will take home the cup for the first time in their nation's history. Alan Black and David Henry Sterry, authors of The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatics Guide, join host Liane Hansen to reflect on past match-ups and speculate about the final.
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Vuvuzelas Blare For The Final World Cup Match

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Vuvuzelas Blare For The Final World Cup Match

Vuvuzelas Blare For The Final World Cup Match

Vuvuzelas Blare For The Final World Cup Match

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/128443464/128443481" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Spain meets the Netherlands in the final match Sunday in South Africa. Whichever team wins will take home the cup for the first time in their nation's history. Alan Black and David Henry Sterry, authors of The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatics Guide, join host Liane Hansen to reflect on past match-ups and speculate about the final.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Im Liane Hansen.

(Soundbite of vuvuzelas)

HANSEN: The sound of the vuvuzela can only mean World Cup coverage. Spain meets the Netherlands in the final match later today in South Africa. Whichever team wins will take home the cup for the first time in their nation's history.

Over the past month, there's been anger, cheers and plenty of tears in the name of soccer or, as I should know by now, football. At the beginning of the tournament, Alan Black and David Henry Sterry, authors of "The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatics Guide," explained what was needed to appreciate the tournament. They're back to reflect on past matchups and speculate about the final.

Alan Black joins us from Studio-Line in Paris. Bonjour, Alan.

Mr. ALAN BLACK (Co-Author, "The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatics Guide"): Bonjour.

HANSEN: Good to have you. And David Henry Sterry joins us from our New York bureau. Hey, whats up?

Mr. DAVID HENRY STERRY (Co-Author, "The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatics Guide"): Hey, how you doing?

HANSEN: Im doing just fine. So let me start with you, David Henry Sterry. What do you think the stronger side, the Spaniards or the Dutch?

Mr. STERRY: Well, I am personally rooting for Holland to win. They have a terrible, nasty streak. They are really like street fighters in a way. And I, myself, have a nasty streak in me so Im rooting for them. They had a long history of playing great soccer and never quite winning the whole thing. And this year, they haven't been beaten yet and I predict they will win.

HANSEN: Alan Black, what do you think: Spain or the Netherlands?

Mr. BLACK: Well, Im going for Spain because Holland has some of the meanest players that I've seen in a long, long time. And Ill just pick out three or four of the (unintelligible). There's Van Bommel who could be Van Pummel by the way that he's been punching people during the games. And there's Arjen Robben who seems to be a robber when it comes taking liberties with the rules by diving. And finally, last but not least, Wesley Sneijder, who has a great sneer for a football player.

HANSEN: Last time we were on, we were at the beginning and we previewed England and USA's opening match and you talked about America's chances. How do you think both teams performed overall? Alan, how about you?

Mr. BLACK: The English, I can only say: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BLACK: And the United States, I think they came out just about right. You know, they didnt punch above their weight too well but they made it to the second round. And the good thing was I think they learned a lot of lessons about where they need to go.

HANSEN: David, how about you?

Mr. STERRY: Well, it was fascinating to me to see the enormous self-loathing that these English people - many of the fans spent their life savings, traveled tens of thousands of miles to get to South Africa and then called their team names that would make you blush. And they were terrible on the field, they just didnt show at all.

And as for America, I feel like it was kind of like going on a date with a really hot chick, and you end up at the door and you're making out furiously. And then she says, okay, good night, thank you. And she disappears in the house. It's like, wait a minute. Hold on a second.

But in the end, I think Alan is right. Their defense is not quite world class. Carlos Bocanegra was their defender and he just got brushed aside like a flea.

Mr. BLACK: They gave us a fantastic moment...

Mr. STERRY: Yeah, they did.

Mr. BLACK: And I think it's a moment that really propelled American soccer as a spectator sport forward. And that was the moment when Donovan scored in the last second of the game against Algeria. And the spontaneous outbreaks of: USA, USA, you know, a mere 10 seconds after, it was such a beautiful thing...

Mr. STERRY: It was.

Mr. BLACK: ...because it really came from the heart. And it was wonderful, wonderful moment and will be the moment I remember of the World Cup was Donovan's goal.

HANSEN: The teams which did well, some of which didnt and some of which were surprising. Alan, did you have a team that you thought really took the mickey out you?

Mr. BLACK: Well, the South American teams. A couple of weeks ago, we were all saying this is going to be a South American World Cup. And, of course, we now have two European teams in the final. Uruguay were obviously a team that no one would have given a second look to, yet they came out with the most composed and elegant football that they have played in decades.

Mr. STERRY: And we also have the number one hottie of the World Cup, just for (unintelligible), Diego Forlan...

Mr. BLACK: Oh, yeah.

Mr. STERRY: ...is just as beautiful as he plays. He is a spectacular looking and spectacular scoring, goal-scoring machine. He just plays just spectacular football.

HANSEN: What do you think the likelihood is of the USA playing host to 2018 World Cup?

Mr. STERRY: Well, I dont know if it's going to be in '18. There's a lot of talk of England getting it in '18. But I think if they dont get it in '18, they probably will in 2022. And I think now, finally, there is a core base of really passionate fans. And I think Alan was right. That moment when Landon Donovan scored that transcendent last-second goal, I think it made a lot of converts here in America.

HANSEN: Yeah, I was interested from your book, both of you, one in four people in the known universe are expected to tune to the final. Let's hope they're not all carrying vuvuzelas.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. STERRY: Yes, I can only hope.

HANSEN: Do you think now they're going to be heard in football matches around the world?

Mr. BLACK: I think that they were quite therapeutic in the end.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BLACK: I felt quite relaxed having my eardrums perforated on a daily basis, and I ended up loving the vuvuzela.

Mr. STERRY: I do, too, I have to say. Whenever I hear one now, all of a sudden I get a tremendous soccer jones, like where's the game? I've got to see one now. Please, show me a game.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Alan Black and David Henry Sterry are the authors of "The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatics Guide." Alan Black joined us from the Studio-Line in Paris and David Henry Sterry was in our New York bureau. Enjoy the game.

Mr. STERRY: Thank you so much.

HANSEN: Thank you.

Mr. BLACK: Thank you. You, too.

Mr. STERRY: Bye.

Mr. STERRY: Bye-bye.

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