This is the second FIFA World Cup™ in a row where Europe has contributed the two finalists. You must recognise the importance of African and South American players within European football – our players have gained enormously from them and we cannot be arrogant or complacent – but at the same time you have to give credit to those European teams who have played very well.
It leads me to ask where this success comes from and I think what it shows are the benefits of highly organised player development programmes – such as at Barcelona, at Ajax, at Bayern Munich – as well as highly developed coach education programmes. I've been to La Masia, Barcelona's academy, which has produced a large number of Spain's players. Pep Guardiola, the Barcelona coach, has discussed their philosophy with me and they have an ethos of family and work that is very important.
You see it in the way they play – the team matters most. Their players are taught humility and you deal with any of those players like Xavi or Andres Iniesta, and they are all very humble. None of them goes around saying how good they are. Of course, Barcelona also raise their youngsters playing the game in a positive way – with this progressive possession play.
It is no surprise then that Xavi and Iniesta are prominent in this wonderful generation of Spanish players. They are a real team of talents and if you liken a football side to an orchestra, then you need a variety of talent to produce top-class music. In Spain's case, Xavi has definitely been the orchestrator-in-chief. He is the master of the progressive pass, while Iniesta is the master of the incisive run, be it dribbling or combination play, and the two complement each other.
The most important thing for a coach to get right is the balance between order and flair, and I would say Spain and Germany and also the Netherlands have this balance right. In Germany's case, they have produced some wonderful performances in South Africa, but they were not perfectly in tune against Spain in their semi-final defeat. Given the quality of the two teams it was strange the game should be decided by one set-play but it was a reminder that while we all love the flair, sometimes the basics can be enough.
Spain now face a Netherlands team with a similar philosophy – both sides have that mixture of order and flair. They are wonderfully creative from midfield to attack and are supported by a defensive structure. Above all, everybody looks to play as a team. And as with Germany, both are using a structure that has become prominent in the UEFA Champions League, a 4-2-3-1. I just hope Sunday's game will give us the big finish this tremendous tournament deserves.