WORLD CUP: Spain need extra time to defeat ten-man Holland

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-***** 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

HOL

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)

SUBS

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)

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