points from a possible 54 was the combined haul with which Spain and the Netherlands emerged from the South Africa 2010 qualifiers. Only Brazil (1970) and West Germany (1982) had previously survived a preliminary campaign of at least five matches with an unblemished record, and both went on to reach the Final.
years old, Howard Webb is the youngest referee to handle a FIFA World Cup Final since Pierre Georges Louis Capdeville in 1938. Webb, the fourth Englishman to referee football’s biggest fixture, also becomes the first man to officiate in the finals of the European Cup and the FIFA World Cup in the same year.
is the birthday that Andre Ooijer celebrates today. The Netherlands defender becomes only the second player to participate in a FIFA World Cup Final on his birthday, following Jurgen Grabowski, who turned 30 on the day he helped West Germany overcome the Dutch in 1974.
successive Finals prior to this one had always involved Argentina, Brazil, Italy or Germany. As well as helping to buck this trend, one of this evening's finalists will also become the eighth team to be crowned world champions and the first European team to win the title outside their home continent.
straight wins have been strung together by the Netherlands during the South Africa 2010 qualifiers and tournament proper. Should they win this evening, the Oranje would become only the second team after Brazil to record a ‘perfect’ FIFA World Cup campaign. The Dutch are also on the verge of emulating another Brazilian record, set when Ronaldo and Co won all seven of their matches en route to the 2002 title.
nations have now been represented in the Final, with Spain the latest addition to this illustrious list. Nine of the 12 hail from Europe.
teams who scored first in the Final did not go on to win the Trophy. Czechoslovakia suffered this indignity twice – against Italy in 1934 and Brazil in 1962 – while Hungary famously raced into a two-goal lead before going down 3-2 to West Germany in 1954. However, while conceding the opening goal is not necessarily fatal, going in behind at the interval invariably is. Only one team has ever overcome a half-time deficit in the Final, and that was in the inaugural edition, when Uruguay battled back from 2-1 down to beat Argentina 4-2.
goals is the tally with which both David Villa and Wesley Sneijder – the competition’s joint-leading scorers with Thomas Muller and Diego Forlan - start tonight’s Final. On only four occasions has the tournament’s top marksman also gone home with a winner’s medal.
matches undefeated against Spain is the record with which the Netherlands go into the Final. The Dutch have won three and drawn one of their last four encounters with La Roja, and it was the team’s current assistant coach, Frank de Boer, who scored the winner when these sides last met in 2002.
is the healthy historical goal average of FIFA World Cup Finals. Only one – Brazil-Italy at USA 1994 – has ended goalless. Brazil and Sweden produced the highest-scoring Final to date in 1958, with A Seleção winning 5-2.
teams have previously lost their first match at a FIFA World Cup and gone on to reach the Final. Worryingly for Spain, all three - West Germany (1982), Argentina (1990) and Italy (1994) – went home as runners-up.
points per match is the record with which Bert van Marwijk comes into this Final, having won 20, drawn six and lost one of his 27 matches in charge. This ratio is the best ever recorded by a coach of the Dutch national team.
goals are all that Wesley Sneijder needs to draw level with Johnny Rep as the Netherlands’ most prolific FIFA World Cup marksman. The Inter Milan midfielder can also claim a notable first by becoming the first player to win a domestic and European treble and a world title in the same season.
goal is the margin by which the Netherlands have won their last five FIFA World Cup matches in succession. No team in the competition’s history had ever achieved this.
goals have been conceded by Spain before half-time at this FIFA World Cup. La Roja are also just the second team in history to reach the Final on the back of three consecutive 1-0 wins during the knockout stage. Germany managed this feat in 2002 with narrow victories over Paraguay, USA and Korea Republic.