The two standout performers of the tournament to date go head-to-head...
With neither country previously having lifted the world crown, the 22 players involved will take to the pitch knowing that they are one moment of greatness — or, heaven forbid, a moment of madness — away from making history for the homelands.
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But which one will catapult themselves to individual glory as they try and steer their country to success? Goal.com UK looks at how the two star players stack up against each other...
Caps 64 | Goals 43
Caps 66 | Goals 17
|2 x Spanish cups, Euro 2008 winner
|| 3 x domestic titles in three countries, 2 x cups, 1 x Champions League
|World Cup 2010
|How they rate
WHO WILL TAKE THE CROWN?With Spain the narrow favourites to edge to the title, the smart money suggests that Villa will be one who catches the eye in making a break for top goalscorer and player of the tournament. But Sneijder has already proven during the past month in South Africa that he was more than capable of making crucial contributions at pivotal moments — the quarter-final against Brazil being a case in point — and it would be brave to bet against the former Ajax youngster capping an annus mirabilis in some style.
With little to choose between either man, perhaps tactics will eventually play a defining role. With Sneijder likely to struggle for space as he is hounded by Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso, perhaps the likes of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie will take on more decisive roles for Bert van Marwijk's side.
As a likely lone striker, however, Villa will have to be at the heart of everything good Spain attempt in the final third. Likely to be given the ball in dangerous situations on a number of occasions, the new Barcelona man has more than enough quality to punish the likes of Johnny Heitinga and Joris Mathijsen for any positional errors they make.
Villa has proved his enviable international goalscoring record is no fluke by coming up with the goods whenever his country as needed him to so far in South Africa (barring the all-round abherration in the first game against Switzerland) and expect to do that again on the biggest stage of all as he edges Sneijder for the individual awards.
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