spain wins 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Spain’s place among world football’s all-time greatest teams was assured Sunday
when Andres Iniesta scored with four minutes of extra time remaining to beat the
Netherlands 1-0 and clinch his country’s first World Cup.
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With the teams
facing a penalty shootout in a game of few clear chances, Iniesta collected a
sliding pass into the area from substitute Cesc Fabregas and smashed the ball
across goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and in at the far post.
ended an often illtempered match and made Spain only the third team to be world
and European champion at the same time.
At the final whistle, the Spanish
players hurried to swap their blue shirts for their more familiar red colors in
time to collect the trophy. They donned shirts decorated with a single gold star
to mark their triumph, becoming the eighth nation to receive the
The Dutch players trudged forlornly to collect their runners- up
medals, the third squad from the Netherlands to finish second in football’s
The teams created few clear chances in normal time at
Soccer City but the game opened up slightly after a cagey opening hour in which
the Netherlands broke up Spain’s attempts to get its famous passing game going
with physical play that brought the Dutch eight yellow cards.
John Heitinga got a red card in the 19th minute of extra time to become only the
fifth man to be sent off in a World Cup final.
With Spain also collecting
five yellow cards, the final yellow card count beat the previous record of six
in the 1986 final between Argentina and West Germany and made the final the
dirtiest of all time.
Extra time was littered with almost as many chances
as the rest of the game. Stekelenburg saved a low shot by Fabregas
Arjen Robben was blocked and defender Joris Mathijsen headed over at the
With Wesley Sneijder closely attended by Spain’s defensive
midfielders and Spain striker David Villa continually forced wide in a
for possession, Robben looked the most likely player to put the
to his team’s otherwise uncompromisingly physical approach.
Sneijder had few chances to add to their five tournament goals, the
unable to find his range with free kicks and most notable for the
between Spain’s central defenders that set Robben free in the 62nd.
went closest in the 70th when Stekelenburg somehow knocked his
finish over the bar, shortly before Sergio Ramos headed over the bar
Villa, Sneijder, Uruguay striker Diego Forlan and Germany
forward Thomas Mueller remain tied at the top of the tournament scoring
with five goals from seven matches.