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
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Sport
Sam Allardyce
sport
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Bob Dylan
art
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

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?