Spain Wins World Cup

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Spain returns home with World Cup

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Spain win World Cup for the first time with 1-0 win over the Netherlands
  • Goal from Iniesta in extra time settles final without penalty kicks at Soccer City
  • Dutch lose their third appearance in a World Cup final
  • Game littered by 14 yellow cards and sending off for Dutchman Johnny Heitinga

(CNN) - Spain won the World Cup for the first time in its history as an extra-time goal from midfielder Andres Iniesta gave his country a last-gasp 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in the final at Soccer City.

The showpiece game of the South Africa-hosted tournament on Sunday was littered with no less than 14 yellow cards and one red but was settled by a moment of magic by the Barcelona man after he was played in by substitute Cesc Fabregas.

His 116th-minute strike was the goal all Spaniards were waiting for and spared both sides the agony of deciding the new world champions by penalties.

The breakthrough came after the Dutch had been reduced to 10 men, following Johnny Heitinga's dismissal in the second half of extra time by referee Howard Webb for a foul on Iniesta.

"It's incredible, " Iniesta told gathered media in a post-match news conference.

"What a joy especially when you see how we won it. There aren't the words to describe what I am feeling. After my goal, I thought about my family and all the people who I love. But the victory is the fruit of a lot of work, " an emotional Iniesta told reporters.

Spain coach Vincente del Bosque added to the happy sentiment following his side's victory: "Today is a reward for beautiful football. Everyone in the dressing room is ecstatic, " he said.

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Del Bosque, who won two European Cups when in charge of club side Real Madrid, dedicated the win to his countrymen.

"Spain, the country, deserves this triumph. This goes beyond sport. We have to celebrate and are delighted to be able to offer this victory to all the people of Spain."

Del Bosque said it had been a pleasure to coach the side, which with the win adds the World Cup to its European crown.

"There is joy of being 50 days with this group of players who have given us the world title. It was a difficult match. Afterwards, I think that we were slightly better, " he added.

The coach also refused to be drawn into criticizing the tough tackling of the Netherlands: "I'm here to speak about the beautiful things of football. Holland played a good game in an even, balanced match. Yes it was rough at times, but that is part of football."

For the Spanish came joy, but for the Dutch, desolation. The Netherlands lost its third appearance in a World Cup final, after previous defeats in the 1974 and 1978.

Two second-half chances went begging for star player Arjen Robben. The flying winger was sent clear by Wesley Sneijder, only to be denied by a superb save from Spain captain Iker Casillas, who stuck out a leg to send the ball wide.

Late in normal time Robben was also through and appeared to be pulled back by Spain defender Carles Puyol before Casillas saved again at his feet.

Spain had great chances in the second half with David Villa denied by the legs of Heitinga, and Sergio Ramos who headed over with the goal at his mercy.


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