13 yellow cards, one red card, and one goal later, Spain claimed its first World Cup title with a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands.
Being a referee for the biggest game in the tournament is no easy task. Still, there were some questionable calls made in this match. During the first half, Holland’s De Jong was given a yellow card for kicking Xabi Alonso in the chest. The ball was nowhere near the play and De Jong should have been given a red card. There were a few other yellow cards that shouldn’t have been given but the officiating did not take away from all the action on the field which is all the matters.
Although they didn’t come away with the victory, the Netherlands played a very solid game. Arjen Robben was playing like a man on a mission. He had a few great chances to score and made a lot of exciting plays. Wesley Sneijder wasn’t really noticeable on the field today which probably has a lot to do with fatigue.
Throughout the tournament, Holland has had great success on its set plays. They continued to set-up some incredible plays today but just couldn’t convert. Still very impressive!
Dutch captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst made some game saving plays in the final match of his career. Coach Bert Van Marwijk chose to substitute Bronckhorst for Edson Braafheid in the 105th minute, not a good decision.
The brutal tournament continued for Fernando Torres. Although he didn’t start in this game, Torres was substituted in the 106th minute. He wasn’t very affective and sadly, Torres went down with a hamstring injury right at the end of the game.
One of the most impressive players in the game was Jesus Navas who came into the game for Pedro in the second half. Navas didn’t play in any other game in South Africa but showed great skill and quickness throughout the match.
Regulation solved nothing and it looked like the game was headed to penalty kicks. Then, the man of the match, Andres Iniesta made a smart move to get on side and score the game winning goal. Both goalies were solid in this game, making their share of important saves. Unfortunately, Maarten Stekelenburg had no chance on this one.
The 2008 Euro Champs are now World Champions but once you’re on top, the only place to fall is down.
World Cup Final Results
Spain 1-0 Netherlands
Bronze Medal Game Results
Germany 3-2 Uruguay