The Spaniards need an extra time goal to prevail over their Dutch foes
Spain rules the soccer world, winning the World Cup at long, long last.
It came after an exhausting 1-0 victory in extra time over the Netherlands on Sunday. Two years after winning the European title, the stylish Spaniards did even better.
This was a physical test of attrition that sometimes turned dirty — a finals-record 11 yellow cards were handed out and the Dutch finished with 10 men. In the end, it was Andres Iniesta breaking free in the penalty area, taking a pass from Cesc Fabregas and putting a right-footed shot from 8 yards just past the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
For the Dutch and their legions of orange-clad fans wearing everything from jerseys to jumpsuits to clown gear to pajamas, it was yet another crushing disappointment.
Their first World Cup title tantalizingly within reach, they failed in the final for the third time. This one might have been the most bitter because, unlike in 1974 and 1978, the Netherlands was unbeaten not only in this tournament, but in qualifying for the first World Cup staged in South Africa.
Soccer City was soaked in Oranje, from the seats painted in that hue throughout the stadium to pretty much everyone seated in them. Unlike when they lost to hosts West Germany and Argentina in previous finals, the Dutch were something of a home team this time.
The Spaniards, though, were the winners.
They had pockets of supporters, too, to be sure, dressed in red and scattered around the stadium. They might have been the minority, but when the final whistle blew, they were tooting their vuvuzelas loudest in tribute to their champions.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Andres Iniesta scored late in extra time, lifting Spain to a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands for its first World Cup title.
Iniesta broke free inside the penalty area Sunday, took a pass from Cesc Fabregas and put the ball just past the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
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World Cup fever sweeps South Africa, June 11, 2010
South Africa is hosting the19th FIFA World Cup, which began on June 11 and concluded on July 11. This is the first time the tournament was held in Africa. More than 200 national soccer teams began competing three years earlier
for the 32 slots in the tournament. World Cup matches were played in cities across South Africa, including Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.