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Jul 8, 2010

Xavi relishing prospect of final

Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez is determined to enjoy the World Cup final, and admitted he is relishing the prospect of playing against "a great" Netherlands team "playing great football".

• Lahm frustrated, Low gracious
• Del Bosque hails 'extraordinary' Spain
• Brewin: Puyol ensures progress
• Ball: Where angels fear to head
• Blog: Spain through in style
• Gallery Photo Gallery

A new champion will be crowned on Sunday after the Euro 2008 winners booked a clash with the Dutch at Soccer City thanks to Carles Puyol's fierce second-half header against Germany in Durban.

It offers Spain the chance to follow West Germany into the history books as European Champions who added the World Cup to their crown.

Xavi and his team-mates have already been installed as favourites, but the Barcelona star is keen to relieve the pressure and make sure Spain make the most of their first date at world football's most prestigious gathering.

"Let's enjoy the final,'' Xavi said. "We dedicate this victory to Spain. If we play on Sunday like we did today, we will have a great chance.''

Xavi claimed Spain dominated their youthful opponents, turning the screw in the second half and netting the crucial winner moments after Toni Kroos had missed Germany's best chance.

"We played as we wanted to,'' Xavi said. "Now it is a final against Holland, a great team playing great football with great players in midfield and up front. We will have to impose our personality and football on them.''

David Villa and Wesley Sneijder will face-off in the final, in a battle to claim the World Cup Golden Boot, and the Spain striker insists his side are capable of building on their semi-final display.

"We have shown that in the big moments we rise to the occasion,'' Villa said. "It is the best game we have played. We deserved to score more but a Puyol goal put us in the final and we are exultant.''

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