Spain win the World Cup in extra-time

Holland 0 Spain 1

Andres Iniesta grabbed a late winner in extra-time as Spain won the World Cup for the first time.

Iniesta struck with four minutes remaining to settle a tetchy encounter which saw English referee Howard Webb brandish a record 12 yellow cards, plus a red for Everton's John Heitinga on a night when Holland shamed the 'Total Football' for which they have been synonymous since the first of what is now three final defeats in 1974.



Webb deserves a huge amount of credit for not setting a new record for red cards, let alone yellow, the first of which he showed to Robin van Persie in the 14th minute.



Pretty soon combative midfield duo Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong joined him for challenges that could easily have ended their evening.



The feeling that if the match had been played on a park pitch rather than being a showpiece occasion watched by an estimated three billion, one, or both, would have been sent off was inescapable.



Van Bommel's challenge on Joan Capdevila was bad enough. De Jong's karate kick on Xabi Alonso was awful.



That Wesley Sneijder was not even cautioned for a similarly woeful attempt at stopping Pedro could only be put down to either Webb being unsighted or the Dutch playmaker diverting attention by claiming to be injured himself.



Spain were not complete innocents in all of this. But it was the European Champions who were feeling most aggrieved, which only intensified when Webb did not see a niggly second-half challenge from Van Bommel that sparked a reaction from Barcelona playmaker Iniesta.



Vicente del Bosque was particularly annoyed, jabbing his finger at either Webb or Van Bommel, who were both in roughly the same area of the pitch.



It made for such unsightly viewing and a final which did not even come close to matching its billing.



In fairness any game that is preceded by an appearance from Nelson Mandela is going to struggle to live up to expectations.



However, as the rather tasteless celebrations of Uruguay's Luis Suarez showed after his "real Hand of God" that denied Ghana a place in the semi-final, the ends justify the means.



And that is exactly how Holland would have viewed it if Iker Casillas had not made a quite brilliant save to deny Arjen Robben after the former Chelsea star had been set free by Sneijder.



Robben must have thought he had done everything right.



Running at pace until he saw the whites of Casillas' eyes, he shaped to go one way, then placed his shot to the other corner.



Casillas was committed in the other direction but stuck out a leg and turned the effort wide.



It was by some distance the best opportunity of the regulation 90 minutes, although Sergio Ramos had a couple of decent openings himself, both headers, both from crosses from Xavi.



On the first occasion, Maarten Stekelenburg flung himself to his right and made the save at a point early enough in proceedings that a goal could have changed the contest completely.



By the time, unmarked, Ramos headed Xavi's corner over, Webb had become as much part of the occasion as the players.



It was the only Englishman to survive beyond the last 16 that Robben ran to when he threatened to sprint through again, only to be denied by Casillas.



But losing possession did not come before Carles Puyol had made a desperate grab for the Bayern Munich winger, who was convinced the Barcelona defender should have been sent off.



On as a substitute, with a point to prove after mustering the grand total of 93 minutes prior to tonight, Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas twice came close to breaking the deadlock in extra-time, when Xavi also had a penalty claim turned down.



But Spain were not to be denied. Fabregas slotted it through to Iniesta and after one touch to control it, his second was a crisp volley past Stekelenburg.



The loss of Fernando Torres to a hamstring injury in stoppage time may have further consequences for Liverpool.



But in Madrid and Barcelona that will not matter. In Amsterdam, only a shattered reputation remains now.



Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
News
people
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced