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World Cup 2010 Final, Spain Player Profile: Xavi Hernandez

1. Who is this guy?

Xavi Hernandez, or just Xavi, is a central midfielder from Barcelona - the short, fast guy in the middle of the Spain team who will have the ball more than any other player on the pitch. One of his infrequently used is nicknames Humphrey Bogart. He is generally recognized as the best central midfielder in the world, with some (a name, I call myself) arguing he is the best player in the world. He is the man that Spain and Barcelona (the two-time reigning champions of the Spanish league) have build their teams around, so yeah - he's alright.

2. How has he done in this tournament?

He was named Man of the Match in Spain’s victories over Germany and Portugal and leads the tournament in passes completed. As always, he has been the steady, quarterback-like presence that’s kept Spain moving forward in the face of teams who've typically played very defensively against the talented Spanish attack.

3. What’s his role going to be on Sunday?

It’s unchanging with Xavi. When Spain coach Vincente del Bosque goes to the chalkboard to work-out his team’s tactics for a match, the first Spanish name he writes down is Xavi, putting it right in the center of the field.

4. Which opponent will be his closest on-field match-up?

There are two, as the Netherlands have a pair of players - Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel - who will each play central, defensive midfield positions. Each will have their chances to come up-the-field and challenge Xavi, and when Xavi moves closer to the Dutch goal, the Spaniard will have to deal with both of Holland’s tenacious midfield anchors.

Courtesy of Kirsten Schlewitz at 7500 to Holte - SB Nation’s Aston Villa FC blog:

5. What beer best represents this player?

Nostradamus, La Caracole - This beer named after the world’s most masterful prognostigator has a complex, ever-changing taste, varying between sour, sweet, and bitter.

Kirsten’s entire Pint-to-Pint Matchup, at 7500 to Holte.