What Happened

Andres Iniesta scored in the 116th minute to give Spain their first ever World Cup title.

The match featured 14 bookings, a record for the final, with Johnny Heitinga sent off in the 109th minute after his being shown a second yellow card.

 

Notes from Joe

- Spain deserved to win the tournament, no doubt. No team in the world can control a match quite like them. They’re just so incredibly skilled, with all eleven players comfortable on the ball, and able to pass it so precisely. The fact that they had seven players from the same club team (although Villa hasn’t played a game for them yet) in that starting eleven really shone through. There was a great level of understanding between the players, and they attacked and defended in equal numbers.

- Touching stuff from Andres Iniesta, revealing the message “Dani Jarque is always with us” on his undershirt after scoring the winner. Jarque, a former Espanyol player, died last year while on pre-season training.

- Unbelievable call in extra time that saw a goal kick awarded for what quite clearly should have been a corner.

- Agree with Kristian that the physical nature and numerous whistles in the match suited the Dutch. If  Arjen Robben just could have taken one of those glorious chances…

- Astute substitution from Vicente del Bosque, bringing on Jesus Navas for Pedro in the 60th minute. Giovanni van Bronckhorst — along with Gregory van der Weil — was playing very narrow and the Dutch were defending well partly because of it. Navas was able to pull van Bronckhorst wide, opening up more space in the middle.

- Thought van Bronckhorst  had a pretty decent final game of his career. He had a heroic stop on Andres Iniesta in the first half of injury time, but you could see that he was just gassed when he gave Navas far too much time and space to have a go moments later.

- As producer Thomas Dobby said in the War Room, it looked like Edson Braafheid was having the ‘Sharman Dream’ when he replaced van Bronckhorst and had a ball go off the back of his head straight back to the keeper.

- Cesc Fabregas –like Navas — also had a big impact on the game when he came on, providing an attacking thrust from midfield. The Spanish substitutes performed far better than their Dutch counterparts.

- Eljero Elia had done so well as a substitute earlier in the tournament, but he was unable to have any kind of influence on the match after replacing Dirk Kuyt on 71 minutes.

- Love Kuyt, and I don’t think I’ve seen anyone with as much endurance as him since Rosie Perez in the opening credits to Do the Right Thing, but he was not at his best today. Especially defensively, where Sergio Ramos was getting the best of him.

- Sergio Ramos missing that free header on 77 minutes was just criminal. That moment would have been permanently etched in his brain if Spain hadn’t won.

- Pretty quiet game from David Villa, after an excellent tournament. He always seems to play a little bit better when he’s got another central striker with him, so he can sort of drop back and cut in from the left.

- Both goalkeepers had great games, making a couple of big stops each.

- Mark Van Bommel was finally booked for a foul (his initial yellow in the semi was for dissent), and it was a well earned card. He’s the type of player just made for this style of game. The kind of guy you loathe playing against but would love to have on your team. Producer Thomas Dobby is a big fan, and I’m pretty sure that’s because he plays the exact same way himself on the pitch. “Just a proper bastard”, as either him or KJ said. (Can’t remember who that was).

- If Robben would have gone down when Carles Puyol came across him in the 83rd minute, I think the Spanish defender would have picked up his second yellow card. But Robben stayed on his feet, my hunch is because he had a clear path to the goal. Unfortunately for the Netherlands,  he couldn’t find a way to get the ball past Iker Casillas. When referees don’t make those calls, it leads to players flopping on contact.

- I love Robben as a player, but jeez, at some point you’d think he’d work on that right foot to make him truly unstoppable.

 

Notes from Kristian

- It wasn’t a perfect path to the trophy for Spain but it was a patient, majestic and beautiful path.

- Spain became the first ever World Cup champions to with the tournament with just three different goal scorers throughout. Also the first champion to lose their opening match.

- Delighted for Andres Iniesta. A superstar.

- The Dutch will get their haters but their game plan was close to coming off. The physical nature of the game was really suiting them. You could see Spain getting angry and frustrated. But they were just unable to capitalize.

- Wesley Sneijder was still sitting in the centre circle in tears for some time after the final whistle. Forget the three titles he’s won, he’ll remember this more. He was marvellous in South Africa. And what a terrific ball that was from him to send in Arjen  Robben in the second half, only to have Iker Casillas pull off a marvellous save.

- Felt really bad for Johnny Heitinga when he was sent off. He was positioned poorly, no doubt, but his first yellow was a farce.

- Thought Pedro had a decent game before he was taken off. His runs were causing problems for the Dutch.  But Jesus Navas provided some much needed width to the Spanish attack.

 

Notes from James

- And there you have it! Spain are promoted from a great team to a legendary team. A brilliant 31 days.

- If that Nigel De Jong drop kick to the chest of Xabi Alonso happened in the 85th minute instead of the 29th, that would have been a red card.

- Dirk Kuyt was taken off after just 71 minutes, he’s going to be on the treadmill burning off all of that excess energy into the wee hours of the

 

Three Stars

1. Andres Iniesta

2. Iker Casillas

3. Jesus Navas

 

Links: Wire recap I Box score