But what the World Cup craved was a show of Spanish mastery: the low-slung, quick-footed passing game that swept them to the European title in Vienna two years ago. That continental triumph was never an end in itself. With all this talent, they were honour-bound to hunt the even grander prize.
Spain only do it one way and with players like Xavi and Andres Iniesta in their midfield it is not hard to work out which it is.
It involves understanding angles and running selflessly off the ball and moving possession to a team-mate quickly. It is exhausting to play against as it largely entails chasing ghosts.
And it is foreign to some European teams, certainly to England. It is not about hitting channels and winning second balls.
If you keep possession like Spain then there aren’t any second balls. Whether it will prove good enough to win this tournament against an obdurate Dutch side on Sunday is uncertain.
Certainly Soccer City will witness two contrasting styles. Last night Spain played the stuff that the world came to watch.