A goal four minutes from the end of extra time gave Spain a deserved 1-0 win, as they become World Champions for the first time in their history. HOL: 0 SPA: 1
Venue: Soccer City, Johannesburg Crowd: 84,490 Officials Referee: Howard Webb (England) Assistants: Darren Cann and Michael Mullarkey (both England) Fourth: Yuichi Nishimura (Japan) Yellow cards:HOL - Bommel, De Jong, Van Persie, Bronckhorst, Robben, Van Der Wiel, Mathijsen SPA - Puyol, Ramos, Capdevila, Iniesta, Xavi
Red cards: Heitinga MATCH REPORT A match of twelve yellow cards and one red gives some indication of what a poor World Cup final this was. But in the end the team who were trying to play football deserved their narrow victory over a cynical Holland outfit who could have been reduced to ten men in the first 45 minutes.
As it was we had to wait until the second period of extra time for the Dutch to see red when Johnny Heitinga was dismissed for pulling back Andres Iniesta. But even though Spain are worthy World champions the manner of the their winner left Holland fuming and complaining bitterly to the officials at the end of the game.
Moments before Iniesta's winner, Wesley Sneijder's free-kick from 35 yards took a big deflection off Cesc Fabregas, but Howard Webb gives a goal-kick. The incident was shown on the big screen at Soccer City which only added to the tension and controversy.
Spain's game plan was the usual pass and move, whilst Holland sought to disrupt this with defending in depth and a succession of cynical fouls. The first half was totally forgettable with too many breaks in play for any rhythm to develop.
Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg was the busier saving brilliantly a header from Sergio Ramos. Twice David Villa almost beat the Dutch offside trap before volleying into the side netting after 11 minutes. But after this initial flurry the game degenerated and Nigel De Jong should have seen red instead of yellow with a kung-fu style kick into Fabio Alonso's chest.
The second period saw both teams at least showing more urgency in going for a winner even if it was Spain making all the running, yet it was Holland who had the two best chances to win the game, and both fell to Arjen Robben.
At the other end Villa pounced on a defensive mistake but his close range effort was blocked. Puyol then headed over unmarked from a corner as Spain pressed but Holland looked dangerous on the break.
Extra time saw substitute Cesc Fabregas then have his chance for glory but one-on-one with the keeper the Arsenal midfielder fluffed his lines. And still the yellow card count increased.
But with four minutes remaining justice was done as Fabregas slipped a ball inside to Iniesta and the Barcelona man controlled and fired powerfully home to confirm Spain as World Champions to go with their European title. Starting Line-Ups
1. Maarten Stekelenburg 2. Gregory Van Der Wiel 3. Johnny Heitinga 4. Joris Mathijsen 5. Giovanni Van Bronckhorst (Braafheid, 105) 6. Mark Van Bommel 8. Nigel De Jong (Van der Vaart, 99) 10. Wesley Sneijder 11. Arjen Robben 7. Dirk Kuyt (Elia, 70) 9. Robin van Persie SUBS
16. Michel Vorm (GK) 12. Khalid Boulahrouz 13. Andre Ooijer 14. Demy De Zeeuw 15. Edson Braafheid 17. Eljero Elia 18. Stijn Schaars 19. Ryan Babel 20. Ibrahim Afellay 21. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 23. Rafael Van der Vaart (99) 22. Sander Boschker (GK) SPA
1. Iker Casillas 15. Garcia Sergio Ramos 3. Gerard Pique 5. Carles Puyol 11. Joan Capdevila 16. Sergio Busquets 14. Xabi Alonso (Fabregas, 87) 8. Hernandez Xavi 6. Andres Iniesta 18. Rodriguez Pedro (G Jesus Navas, 60) 7. David Villa (Torres, 105)
12. Victor Valdes (GK) 2. Raul Albiol 4. Carlos Marchena 9. Fernando Torres 10. Francesc Fabregas 13. Juan Mata 17. Alvaro Arbeloa 19. Fernando Llorente 20. Aguinaga Javi Martinez 21. David Silva 22. Gonzalez Jesus Navas 23. Jose Reina (GK)