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Spain are champions! PDF
Monday, 12 July 2010 00:00
 

Spain v. the Netherlands, July 11th at 8.30 pm, Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg.

Spain celebrated long into the night after the national team lifted the Football World Cup for the first time in its history. After a robust game lasting more than two hours Spain eventually emerged as victors against a Netherlands team itself seeking its first victory in its third final, having been beaten in 1974 and 1978. 

It was a frustrating match.  Spain, the fairest team in this World Cup with only three yellow cards, yet also the most fouled team, tried to play in its normal patient, attacking manner, but an unsportsmanlike and cynical Dutch team tried to kick them out of their stride from the very start.  Within five minutes they had fouled three times, each foul worthy of a yellow card.  But Howard Webb, the English referee, and by a mile the best there is in the Premier League, probably had the worst game of his career.  How Nigel De Jong didn't see red for his attempted assassination of Xabi Alonso, no-one knows! And there were other possible red cards too, before Johnny Heitinga was finally dismissed for a second yellow card.

The Dutch tactics might well have paid off, for they dominated for significant periods.  Indeed, were it not for the outstanding keeping of captain Iker Casillas in the Spanish goal, they would have won 2-0 after 90 minutes.  As it was the match went into extra time during which Spain mounted attack after attack before Andrés Iniesta's late strike ensured the victory.

Remarkably, Paul the Octopus got all eight of his predictions right, opting for Germany in the third place play-off on Saturday and Spain last night.

Even more remarkably, Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque, was seen to smile at the final whistle.

© Paul Whitelock

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Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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