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World Cup 2010 Final, Spain Player Profile: Carles Puyol

1. Who is this guy?

Carles Puyol is a Spanish defender who is best known for his long hair but would probably be more fairly associated with his amazing strength, conditioning, and (of lack of a better term) heart. A humorous but strangely accurate moniker that describes the Catalan star is used by Spain-based English wirter Sid Lowe, who sometimes refers to Puyol as Captain Caveman for both his appearance and his playing style.

2. How has he done in this tournament?

Puyol has had a great tournament, with Spain having allowed only two goals while he scored the game-winner in the semifinal against Germany - a headed shot off a corner kick.  Its difficult to imagine FIFA's 23-man post-tournament All-Star team being named without Puyol being selected.

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

Puyol will make up the left-half of a central defense partnership with his Barcelona teammate, Gerard Piqué (the two often playing in opposite places for their club, with Puyol on the right of the pairing). He will be needed to help contain Arjen Robben cutting-in from the defense’s left and, as is always the case with Spain, he and Piqué will be crucial to stopping opposition’s counterattacks.

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

Dutch striker Robin van Persie, who is exactly the type of player who Puyol can have success against. Van Persie’s movement is good but not relentless enough to stress Puyol, and Puyol’s physicality can take van Persie out of his game.

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

5. What beer best represents this player?

La Folie, New Belgium Brewing - La Folie translates, more or less, into ‘to madness’ or madly. The intense sourness of this beer is balanced by just enough sweetness.

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