Iniesta wins the World Cup (0-1)
FC Barcelona’s Andrés Iniesta scored the only goal as Spain beat the Netherlands to win the World Cup in South Africa on Sunday evening.
The Blaugrana were dominant for La Selección with no less than eight
players in Vicente del Bosque’s squad and seven of those starting the encounter with the
Dutch in Johannesburg.
Playing in the style of Barça the Spanish included Carles Puyol, Gerard Piqué, Xavi, Iniesta,
Sergio Busquets, Pedro and David Villa in the team and their technique and fluency drove the team
to victory. The goalscoring was also dominated by the Catalan outfit as they netted all of
Spain’s goals as Villa scored five, Iniesta two and Puyol one.
Del Bosque’s team set out to win the final from the start and began brightly as the
Dutch took their time finding their feet. Holland, meanwhile, were intent on preventing their
opponents from implementing their quick passing game and attempted to stamp it out, almost
Robin van Persie, Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel all received bookings and the Oranje
could arguably have been down to ten men, but for the leniency of referee Howard Webb.
Slowly but surely the Dutch began to play football and that also allowed
Spain to also try and find a way through as both sides were keen to prevent the other from breaking
clear and scoring the opener.
The second half did not see a great change in the way the game flowed as fouls broke up the
play and there was not as much fluency from either side. More yellow cards were the order of the
day for the Dutch too as Webb had to dip into his pocket yet again.
Arjen Robben then had the best chance of the game until then as he raced clear just after the
hour mark but was foiled by his former Real Madrid team-mate Iker Casillas in the Spanish goal.
Ramos could have given la Selección the lead when he met a corner, but he was unable to
repeat Puyol’s semi-final effort as he headed over. Robben had a second good chance as he
took on Puyol and Catalan Joan Capdevila once more, but again he was unable to beat Casillas.
Former Blaugrana youth starlet Cesc Fàbregas then entered the fray when he replaced Xabi
Alonso in the Spain midfield and the Arenys del Mar playmaker quickly found his touch.
With no goals in the opening 90 minutes the game went into extra time and Spain began to take
advantage of some tiredness on both teams. Fàbregas could have been the first beneficiary when he
found himself with only the Maarten Stekelenburg to beat but the keeper made a good save.
Iniesta was next to push forward, but he was blocked out in the area before Jesús Navas saw a
drive deflected into the side netting. Spain were dominating possession, but the Dutch looked
capable of holding on for penalties or maybe even grabbing a late winner.
Torres for Villa
That all changed with ten minutes remaining when Holland were reduced
to ten men as Iniesta was pulled back by Joris Mathijsen and the defender was shown a second yellow
card and then a red.
Villa was denied the chance of becoming the top scorer in the competition when he was
replaced by Torres, but he will not be concerned as with 116 minutes on the clock Iniesta scored
the winner. Fàbregas found the Barça playmaker on the right of the area and he took one touch
before driving the ball across the keeper and into the net to spark wild scenes of celebration.