JOHANNESBUERG, July 10 – Spaniard Sergio Busquets dreams of being a party pooper Sunday when he faces Dutch star Wesley Sneijder in the World Cup final.
While Busquets was part of the Barcelona team that won the Spanish title, Sneijder is chasing a fourth winners medal having helped Inter Milan conquer Europe after they raised the Italian league and cup trophies.
Spain are favoured to win a Soccer City clash of countries who have never been world champions, but Sneijder poses a major threat after a superb tournament that triggered a 35-million-euro offer from Manchester United.
Sneijder has already made Busquets suffer once as Inter dumped title holders Barcelona out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage in a gripping two-leg showdown.
The Dutch star is also joint leading scorer in the World Cup with Spaniard David Villa on five goals – the same haul that won German Miroslav Klose the Golden Boot at the last World Cup four years ago.
"He is a great player and is in great form. We will try to stop him like any other player," said Busquets. "We will try to deny him even the time to think because otherwise he can create good scoring chances."
However, Sneijder insists there is just one issue on his mind and that is helping Netherlands win the World Cup after losing consecutive finals to host nations West Germany and Argentina three decades ago.
"All these statistics are the least of my worries. Believe me I have not thought for a second about breaking any records. What I want is to win the World Cup, end of story.
"I also get asked about being the player of the tournament or the leading scorer. But if I go on the pitch with all these things in my head, I will forget how to play football."
The Sneijder multi-title assault has been the subject of some banter with former Real Madrid team-mate Sergio Ramos, a defender who will try to contain the Dutch playmaker before a sell-out 90,000 crowd.
"I got a text message from Sergio saying ‘you have already won enough trophies this season. It is time to calm down!" 26-year-old Sneijder told reporters.
"We are going to beat Spain," he insisted. "If we are not convinced of that, we will never do it. That is what the coach says, just like Jose Mourinho did at Inter last season.
"I have been in the form of my life since we got to South Africa and I want to squeeze every last drop out of it," said the midfielder whose two goals sank record five-time champions Brazil in the quarter-finals.
Coach Joachim Loew will be handed a new contract as a reward for guiding Germany to the semi-finals it was reported by normally reliable Bild although German football supremo Theo Zwanziger later denied the claims.
According to Bild, initial talks broke down this year over financial disagreements and also over the desire of Loew to have more control over the national under-21 side.
They claim German Football Federation president Zwanziger will rubberstamp the new agreement on July 30 at an executive committee meeting and the new contract will see Loew in charge until the Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
Zwanziger said while there was a good chance of Loew signing a new contract, crucial talks still had to be held.
"The decision has been taken to meet after the finals and things have calmed down," Zwanziger told AFP affiliate SID. "Loew knows we want to stick with him and I believe the chances of that being the case are good."
Uruguay striker Diego Forlan has recovered from a thigh injury and will play in the third-place play-off against Germany in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Forlan will be joined at the point of the attack by strike partner Luis Suarez, who missed the semi-final through suspension after being sent off for a controversial handball in the quarter-final win against Ghana.
Germany striker Mirsolav Klose will decide if he is fit enough to face Uruguay with the all-time tournament goals record within reach.
Klose has been suffering from a back injury, a setback that has put a cloud over the 32-year-old’s hopes of grabbing two more goals to surpass the World Cup record of 15 held by Brazil’s Ronaldo.
"It’s Miro who will decide if he feels better and if he can start," said assistant coach Hansi Flick, who stood in at Friday’s pre-match news conference while Loew was laid low by flu.