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Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Saturday, 10 July 2010 14:43 UK

Saturday's World Cup round-up

Sneijder and Robben
The Dutch would top the standings for the first time in their history

The Netherlands will go top of the the Fifa world rankings for the first time in their history if they win the World Cup final on Sunday - provided the match does not go to penalties.

Brazil currently head the rankings while the Dutch go into the final at Soccer City in fourth.

However, Spain could regain the top spot they lost to Brazil in April even if they do not win.

Victory in either normal or extra-time will see them regain top spot, but if the game goes to penalties they will reclaim their place at the head of the rankings even if they lose the shoot-out.

Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff says that of the two teams in the World Cup final he "sees the most of" himself in the Spanish line-up rather than his native country.

Cruyff, who both played for and managed Spanish giants Barcelona, also lavished praise upon Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque.

He believes the former Real Madrid manager has been hugely successful in forging stars from bitter Spanish rivals Real and Barcelona into a cohesive team.

Spain striker Fernando Torres has made a last-ditch plea to coach Del Bosque to start him in Sunday's World Cup final against the Netherlands.

The Liverpool striker, and goal-scoring hero of Spain's Euro 2008 victory, fears he will miss the match after being dropped for the semi-final victory over Germany because of concerns over his form and fitness.

A Spanish source said: "Fernando went to see Del Bosque because he fears he will be left out. He told Del Bosque he is desperate to play and that he won't let him down.

"Of course Fernando accepts it has to be Del Bosque's decision but he wants to make it as difficult as possible for the coach to leave him out."

A study commissioned by Fifa to analyse referee performance at the World Cup has confirmed that decisions were made correctly 96% of the time.

However, the study only analysed key decisions such as free-kicks, penalties and goals and failed to examine minor decisions such as throw-ins.

Following a number of contentious decisions in this year's tournament there have been many calls for goal-line and video technology to be introduced into the game.

"We have been working with the referees for many years, we have prepared them as well as possible with new technology and video de-briefing" said Jose Maria Garcia-Aranda, head of refereeing for Fifa.

"Even without the formal data we can say that the number of good, difficult decisions has been up this year," he said. This was the first time that Fifa has released such data on refereeing performances.

Netherlands winger Arjen Robben says his team must forget about trying to play the 'beautiful game' and focus purely on winning the World Cup.

The Dutch Total Football side of the 1970s was credited with a stylish approach to the game, but they twice lost in World Cup finals, in 1974 and 1978, and Robben is hoping the current side's more pragmatic style will allow them to go one better than their predecessors.

"I prefer a very ugly game and we win, instead of a beautiful game and we lose," said Robben. "We can always rely on our good organisation and from there you know you can go on."

Paul, the octopus who has become an international celebrity after correctly predicting the result of all of Germany's World Cup games by choosing a mussel from one of two boxes bearing the flags of the competing nations, has some competition in the shape of Singapore's Mani the parakeet.

Mani has gained fame in the Far East after picking the winners in the quarter-finals and tipping Spain to beat the Germans in the last four by selecting from two cards bearing the respective countries' flags placed in front of his cage.

Mani has chosen the Netherlands to beat Spain in the World Cup final, with Paul having predicted Spain as the eventual winners.

Netherlands captain Giovanni Van Bronckhorst says he will refuse to take a drugs test after the World Cup final if his side are victorious as it would mean missing out on the celebrations.

Van Bronckhorst, who scored his side's first goal in the 3-2 semi-final win over Uruguay, quits football after Sunday's final and says taking a drugs test after the semi-final meant he missed the post-match celebrations in the Dutch dressing room.

"I am not doing the dope test. This is my last game and last time I came off the pitch, I was left isolated and I missed the party," he said.

Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder believes his former Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho is the man to solve England's woes in international football.

Sneijder won the Champions League as part of the Inter treble-winning side under Mourinho last season, and despite the Portuguese having taken over at Real Madrid this summer, the Dutchman feels his ex-boss's heart lies in England.

"Jose is an honest guy and if you ask him what football excites him the most, he will tell you the Premier League," said Sneijder.

"One day he will be back and when he is, the English FA must do everything they can to get him to manage the English national team at the same time."

Spain midfielder Sergio Busquets insists his team are focused solely on beating the Netherlands on Sunday in the World Cup final, despite a burglary at the team's hotel in which some players had money and documents stolen.

"Nobody likes having things stolen but it's happened and we can't do anything about it," said Busquets. "The truth is, though, that I would swap my wallet for the World Cup."

Updated throughout the day.

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see also
Friday's World Cup round-up
09 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Thursday's World Cup round-up
08 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Wednesday's World Cup round-up
07 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Tuesday's World Cup round-up
06 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Monday's World Cup round-up
05 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Sunday's World Cup round-up
04 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Saturday's World Cup round-up
03 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010

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