The final of the most prestigious soccer tournament required extra time to finalize as the Spanish and Dutch national soccer teams failed to break the deadlock in regulation. Spain put in the winner in the second period of overtime, and Spain won the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg was packed for the most important soccer match in the world that only takes place once every four years. Spain donned their road navy blue, and The Netherlands wore their signature orange. Both had shades of green grass stains by the end of regulation as the two teams engaged in a knock-down drag-out fight for the golden ball.
A total of 14 yellow cards were shown in Sunday’s final, a record for the World Cup’s championship game. The previous record was set at six, but referee Howard Webb of England was determined to keep the rough game under control.
The Netherlands were on their heels for the majority of the game as Spain controlled the ball with 59.3 percent of the touches. It was the most possession by one team in the final match since the stat was first recorded in 1966. It its World Cup matches leading up to the final, Spain averaged 60.9 percent of the play. They are the only team to control the play for over 60 percent at one World Cup.
The game came down to a turnover deep in Dutch territory that Cesc Fabregas brought under his control. Andres Iniesta was waiting to make a run behind the Dutch defense. Fabregas found Iniesta on the right side, and Iniesta fired a shot that Maarten Stekelenburg could barely get a hand on. Iniesta received the 13th yellow card of the match when he took his jersey off celebrating the goal.
“We have all done an incredible job,” Iniesta said shortly after the overtime victory. “I don’t think we even realize what we have done.”
The Netherlands’ 10-game winning streak was broken as well as their 25-game unbeaten streak. The Dutch had not lost since September 2008.
The goal by Spain came easier as John Heitinga was sent off with his second yellow in the 109th minute.
Iker Casillas, the Spanish goalkeeper, wore the captain’s arm band well posting a shutout against the potent Dutch attack. He lifted the trophy given to him by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, and the vuvuzelas rang out loud for the last time…or at least for the next four years.
Soccer sportsbooks have yet to set futures for the next phase of international competition, but they did set Spain as the favorite to win Sunday at +105. Bettors betting the over 2 total goals, lost as the game finished 1-0.