Spain defeat the Netherlands 1-0 in extra time to win 2010 FIFA World Cup

Monday, July 12, 2010

The 2010 FIFA World Cup finals were played in Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium.
Image: Tim Boyd.

Spain defeated the Netherlands in extra time 1–0 to win this year's FIFA World Cup. The winning goal came in the last few minutes of the match, which saw thirteen yellow cards and one red card.

Yesterday's win marked Spain's first World Cup victory, in their first World Cup final appearance, making the Spanish team the eighth distinct team to have won the championship since it began in 1930. It was the second time that the European champion for that year won the World Cup as well, the first being West Germany's victory in 1974. It was also the first time that a European team emerged as the World Cup victors on a continent other than Europe. For the Dutch, it was the third time they have lost in the World Cup finals, having done so in 1974 and 1978.

The final match, played in Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium, stayed tied at 0–0 for all of regulation time. Called "a very difficult match" by Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque, the game started with a slow first half. The Dutch had an opportunity to take the lead in the second half, but Arjen Robben's shots were blocked by Spanish captain Iker Casillas. The Netherlands were forced to play with only ten players near the end of extra time after John Heitinga was kicked out of the game.

The winning shot of the match came from Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta in the 116th minute, just four minutes from the end of extra time. He managed to kick the ball past Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg from just 8 metres (26.2 feet) away. If Iniesta had not made the goal, and game stayed scoreless until the end of extra time, the game would have been decided by a penalty shoot-out.

Spain's victory was correctly predicted by the oracular animal Paul the Octopus. Paul's 2010 FIFA World Cup prediction record stayed at 100 per cent as a result.