Coach still stoic as Spain rolls on

POTCHEFSTROOM, South Africa --- Spain coach Vicente del Bosque isn't exactly known for joyous celebrations when his team scores, and his stoic behavior isn't about to change in the World Cup final.


Del Bosque is on the verge of leading the European champions to their greatest triumph, and the low-key Spanish coach isn't going to waste any energy by showing his emotions when there is a game to win.

"I don't know what my reaction will be. These are spontaneous things, not prefabricated, and I take an enormous amount of satisfaction every time we score a goal," Del Bosque told The Associated Press.

"I'm not much for showing external emotion anyway."

And what would a World Cup triumph mean?

"It will mean we've achieved that what we were asked to do," Del Bosque said. "Satisfaction, nothing more."

Having ranked his team's dismantling of Germany as one of its best performances ever, Del Bosque is expecting a very equal contest against the Dutch.

"They're very similar to us, players of great technical ability in midfield," he said.

"Players of great quality and very fast that don't improvise as much as we do, but play a more dangerous direct game. A very dangerous team."

Del Bosque doesn't expect the Netherlands to give Spain as much space as the Germans did, although he is confident his players will adapt to whatever they face, a quality they have shown since the shocking 1-0 loss to Switzerland in their opening group match.

"The idea is to always be maturing a little in every game, and that we've done well," Del Bosque said. "We've played very complete games."

And while Argentina's Diego Maradona and Fabio Capello, of England, were the high-profile coaches who dominated most of the attention coming into the World Cup, the abiding memory might be of Del Bosque, who will lead Spain until at least Euro 2012.

Octopus picks Spaniards to win

There's been plenty of ink for Paul the octopus lately, and why not?

The octopus has successfully predicted the winner of six World Cup matches so far.

Now, Paul has forecast the winner of Sunday's championship match.

And rather than go out on a limb -- or maybe eight of them -- the critter is sticking with the favorite, picking Spain over the Netherlands.

To make his picks, officials put a mussel inside each of two clear plastic boxes bearing the national flags of the teams in his tank. Paul then makes his choice by opening the lid with his tentacles and eating it.

-- Associated Press



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