FIFA WORLD CUP
FNB Stadium, South Africa
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0 - 1
And that will do it for tonight. Thanks for your company. It has been a pleasure bringing you coverage of the World Cup from the last month and we hope you've enjoyed it. For me, the best team have won the trophy. Stay tuned for all the post-match reaction and we'll meet you back here in July 2014 for the World Cup in Brazil! Bye for now.
Iniesta reacts as you'd expect him to after scoring the goal that finally broke his country's World Cup duck.
The Dutch make a guard of honour as Spain come down from the stairs. A nice touch from the losing side.
A gold ticker tape explosion greets the trophy lift as every player jostles to get a touch of it. The crowning moment of a great tournament, mainly for the effect on South Africa, not the on-field action.
Spain's players amass to one side as Iker Casillas gets the trophy from Zuma and Blatter and lifts it high into the night sky. It's official. Spain are the World champions!
Spain have quickly swapped their blue shirts for red ones, and would you know it, they already have a gold star on them to signify they are world champions. Amazing foresight from some bright spark.
Now Spain make the short walk up to greet Jacob Zuma, Sepp Blatter and the World Cup trophy.
Andres Iniesta scores the World Cup-winning goal.
The Dutch climb the stairs to receive their runners-up medals. Still a great tournament for them but the pain of defeat is still hard to shoulder. Arjen Robben will feel he could have won it for them after two great chances went begging in normal time.
ESPN Stats & Info: Spain finished with the fewest goals ever scored by a World Cup Champion. Eight.
Howard Webb gets his medal. He didn't have a great evening but it was a nightmare of a match to referee.
The trophy is placed on its plinth and shortly it will be in the hands of Spain captain Iker Casillas. As ever, Blatter is muscling in on proceedings. Grrr.
New Zealand. Astonishing stat!
Holland's defeat means that only one side went through the tournament unbeaten. Can you guess who it is?
ESPN Stats & Info: Spain become the first team to ever lose their opening match and go on to win the World Cup in the same tournament.
Sneijder is in tears as are many of the Dutch players but as John made the point, their approach was basically reliant on violence. They committed a string of fouls, broke up the game and were destined to end with less than 11 men. Spain are worthy winners in my opinion.
Hot off the press, here is our report of the World Cup final.
John Brewin, at Soccer City: Iniesta saved us from penalties for which he can be thanked. The Dutch can complain all they wish but their behaviour was reprehensible and they missed the chances they had to win. This team cannot rank alongside the team of 1974 and 1978. Shame on them. Well done to Spain, a rescue job from the pain of opening defeat in Durban to champions of the world.
Spain win the World Cup for the first time in their history, and become the first European side to win the trophy outside their home continent. Joyous scenes from the Spanish. They are without question the world's best team. European champions and now World champions.
Spanish players sink to their knees as the magnitude of their achievement sinks in. Dutch players crowd the officials, but they can have no complaints.
SPAIN HAVE WON THE WORLD CUP!
Torres is lying prostrate as the ball is booted out. He looks in real trouble...
A last throw in for the Dutch but Capdevila clears and then Torres does a hamstring!
The Dutch pump the ball long and Spain defend for their lives.....
Xavi is booked for kicking the ball away...
Can Spain ride it out? After the goal Pique slumped to the floor and Casillas cried tears of joy. They aren't there yet though..
Unbelievable drama, and such a cool finish from Iniesta. The ten men have two minutes to find an equaliser.
Mathijsen has gone totlally nuts at the linesman, claiming Elia was fouled in the build up, and Iniesta was carded too for taking his shirt off.
GOAL Iniesta's won it! He's been the stand out player and now he may have won the World Cup! Fabregas fed him and he has volleyed it into the corner with aplomb. Stunning finish!
Sneijder's free-kick flicks off the wall, and Casillas touches it as well but a goal kick is given. Oh dear.
Neat footwork from Elia draws Pique into a foul and Sneijder looks interested in the free-kick.
Robben is flagged offside and the whistle goes, but he still shoots. He could easily have been marching off too but Webb decides he doesn't want to show another red.
ESPN Stats & Info Heitinga becomes the 5th player ever sent off in the World Cup final.
Xavi's free-kick is punched clear by Stekelenberg, and Navas' effort to stick it back in the net is woeful.
Van Der Wiel gets acrded for a late lunge on Iniesta, though contact was minimal.
Xavi takes the free-kick but his effort is poor, and sails two yards over the bar. Van Bommel slots into centre half alongside Mathijsen for the Dutch.
He can have no arguments at all. He got the wrong side and just tugged Iniesta back as he charged through. Now Spain have a free kick right on the edge of the box.
Heitinga is off! He gets a second yellow for pulling back Iniesta and trudges off.
Elia breezes past Ramos but can't reach the ball before it goes out of play.
Braafheid's first involvement is genius! As a cross looks to be going over his head, he turns away from it and ends up cushioning the ball back to Stekelenberg with the top of his bonce.
John Brewin, at Soccer City: The game has begun to be more stretched, which stands to reason in the event of fatigue. But penalties seem fitting. That's if Torres does not steal the show. He has, after all been blameless among the filth.
KICK OFF Here we go...
Here comes Torres! Villa comes off! I'd have left him on, wouldn't you?
ESPN Stats & Info: The latest winner in a final was scored in the 105th minute by Mario Kempes in 1978 against the Netherlands.
HALF-TIME in EXTRA TIME The drama goes on. Fifteen minutes to find a goal or we head into the lottery of 12 yards..
ESPN Stats & Info: The last two extra-time goals scored in the World Cup Final were both against the Netherlands in the 1978 final.
Braafheid is coming on for the skipper Van Bronckhorst. His last involvement for the national side.
Fabregas drives, Arsenal-like, through the heart of the Dutch defence before stroking his shot wide from the edge of the box. A fine run.
Spain are knocking the ball around well now and Fabregas has made a difference. He lands Pique in trouble with a rash pass there though.
Navas! Fabregas and Villa feed him on the right and he fires a shot through Van Bronckhorst and the deflection wrongfoots Stekelenberg before flicking the sidenetting. Half the ground thought that was in.
An attacking switch from the Dutch as De Jong goes off and Van der Vaart comes on.
Another chance! Fabregas releases Iniesta, who is in two minds as to shoot or tee up Navas, in the end he does nothing and Van Bronckhorst makes a timely challenge.
Puyol leaps highest, again, but can't direct his header and it trickles behind. This is getting rather tense now.
A promising start to extra tine. Surely, a goal is coming soon. Spain win another corner...
Now a great chance for the Dutch as Casillas comes for a corner and gets stranded but Mathijsen can't nod into an empty net.
Now Fabregas goes clean through! A sublime pass from Iniesta releases him but Stekelenberg blocks his shot. He should have squared the ball for Villa.
There are some tired passes emerging now, as Soccer City hovers just above zero degrees.
More controversy as three incidents flare up on the edge of the box. Fabregas wanted a free kick for a barge, then Xavi claimed his leg was taken from him before Villa flashes a shot wide, via a deflection. Looks like Xavi kicked his own foot.
Poor from Navas as he had a run at Van Bronckhorst. The winger should have made more of that.
KICK OFF IN EXTRA TIME
All set for another half an hour then? Let's just hope this doesn't go to penalties for the second successive final.
ESPN Stats & Info: Spain have gone to extra-time in five World Cup matches in their history and have never scored a goal after 90 minutes.
FULL TIME A better second half, but the Dutch will be kicking themselves (like they've been kicking the Spanish all night) after missing two golden chances.
The Dutch sitting deep now as Spain press. Can they find a dramatic winner, or are we set for half an hour more?
John Brewin, at Soccer City: Three minutes of added time, as in every game. Why do FIFA bother to pretend?
Three minutes added....
Now Van Persie is correctly flagged offside as the ball is flicked into his path.
Capdevila's ball looks dangerous but Heitinga cleared, then Robben chases a long ball from Elia but can't keep it in.
Yet another foul - this time on Villa. Xavi takes it quickly...
Here comes Cesc. Xabi Alonso makes way.
Fabregas is preparing to come on. Still no sign of Torres. Maybe he's being held back for extra time.
John Brewin, at Soccer City: It looks as if extra time beckons. Robben has again blown a golden chance. The Dutch bench claim foul play but they have a nerve.
Nine! Robben is booked for dissent after he complained that Puyol fouled him in that last episode. He has a case, but he can't make it like that.
Casillas has saved Spain again! Robben burst clear of Puyol to get to the ball but as he tries to skip round the 'keeper Casillas grabs hold of the ball. Superb goalkeeping.
Still no sign of Torres. How his stock has fallen in this tournament.
Now Iniesta wins a free kick off Robben. Taken quickly, but not very well, by Xavi.
A superb touch takes Iniesta into the box but Sneijder is in like a flash. He had to get that tackle right, and he did.
Spain's corner is cleared before they work a decent crossing chance for Xavi but his centre is overhit. Some tired legs out there.
Iniesta goes down howling as Van Bommel put a foot in, then as the move went on Iniesta got his revenge by barging his opponent to the floor. A pathetic exchange, dealt with firmly, and well, by Webb. Busquets was chirping as usual.
WHAT A MISS! Ramos has a free header from seven yards out, but nods it over. My word, what a chance.
Villa and Xavi play a one-two and the former's shot is deflected behind by Heitinga.
Iker Casillas makes a crucial stop from a clean-through Arjen Robben
Netherlands to win, with bet365
Spain to win, with bet365
Lovely move from Spain as Alonso finds Navas, his cross is deep but Villa's volley is wild. Tough chance.
Villa wins the battle to take it but hammers his effort wide.
Heitinga is late on Iniesta and Webb does well to spot it after the ball has gone. Spain free kick 25 yards out, left of centre. The usual suspects encircle the Jabulani.
ESPN Stats & Info: Spain have not conceded a goal after the 60 minute mark in the tournament.
Xavi tries to swap passes with VIlla but is eventually crowded out on the edge of the box. Torres warms up as his coach looks on.
Dutch change: Kuyt off and Elia on.
The Dutch escape! Navas' low cross is stumbled over by Heitinga and as Villa looks certain to score, the defender makes amends with a last-ditch tackle!
The game is starting to open up a little now. How we could do with a goal. No-one wants extra time do they?
Record breaker Howard Webb has now handed out eight yellows.
Van Bommel and Iniesta clash. Webb gives the foul to Holland when it looked like a Spain free kick.
We have eight! Capdevila clips Van Persie as he races clear down the right and Webb reaches for his pocket. Again.
Xavi is hacked at by Robben, then the Dutch player kicks the ball in his face too. Petulant, but not hard enough to warrant stern words from Webb.
That could be a huge turning point in this match. Robben with by far and away the clearest opening of the game. Iker Casillas rescues his team with a vital, brilliant save.
Johnny Heitinga dives to head the ball.
WHAT A CHANCE! Sneijder plays Robben clean through and Casillas stands tall to flick a leg out at his effort and turn it round the post.
ESPN Stats & Info: The seven cards handed out in the match by Howard Webb is now the record for most ever in a World Cup final.
Van Persie meets Kuyt's cross but his looping header is watched over the bar by Casillas.
Spain make a change, as Jesus Navas replaces Pedro. Interesting.
John Brewin, at Soccer City: 59 minutes and it's still awful.....
A chance at the back post for Heitinga as he meets a cross but the flag was up before his effort dribbled wide.
I know you need to get stuck into Spain but this is getting ridiculous - that is five yellows for Holland now. Van Bommel returns the ball, right into Spain territory and gets a sarcastic clap from Vicente del Bosque.
Spain break upfield and Villa is clattered late by Heitinga. That was a nasty tackle and should be a yellow card. It is.
Xavi takes it and arrows one towards the near post but Stekelenberg watches it flash past the upright.
Ramos draws a foul from Van Bronckhorst and we have our first card of the second half. Spain free kick, to the right of the area, 25 yards out.
As the Dutch build possession from Puyol's error, Van Persie shoots but Casillas smothers the shot.
Casillas hits a hospital pass to Puyol, and the centre back just knocks it out of play. A glare-off follows.
Vicente del Bosque looks ponderous on the touchline, but will the Spain boss be tempted to make any changes soon?
Van Der Wiel latches onto a Van Persie flick and as the right back crosses low, Casillas can just watch it roll along his six yard box. No orange shirts had gambled and charged into the box.
Alonso tries a one-two with Iniesta and looks to have nipped in front of Van Bommel but a quick barge in the back sorts that out. Goal kick.
Puyol leaps high to meet the corner at the near post and as it falls to the back post Capdevila misses his kick from seven yards out. Chance.
Spain hit back with a neat passing move and win a corner.
A lovely touch from Robben provides him with space in the final third and though Van Persie is in down the channel, the pass to him is too strong.
KICK OFF We begin again, and hope for a much better second half. The first started dimly, and faded.
The half-time review of those Dutch challenges makes you realise just how fruity they have been. De Jong should have seen red for his tackle on Alonso, and quite apart from Van Bommel's yellow card tackle on Iniesta, he's given away at least three other questionable fouls.
Nigel de Jong plays The Karate Kid on Xabi Alonso. Unsurprisingly a booking followed.
While we ingest what we've just seen, why not have a read of Andrew Warshaw's piece on Africa's chances of hosting the tournament again.
John Brewin, at Soccer City: Total football? Total mess. A dog of a half made into a horror show by Dutch dirt and Spanish operatics.
HALF-TIME A very tetchy opening half, blighted by a flurry of yellow cards and few chances.
ESPN Stats & Info: Three of the last five World Cup finals have gone into half-time scoreless.
Good pressure from Holland as a free kick is nodded across goal before Puyol clears, then Robben's low shot is turned behind by a scrambling Casillas.
Pedro executes a sublime turn before trying to release Ramos but Van Bronckhorst intervenes to launch a Dutch counter. It ends at the feet of Van Persie, as so much of their attacking play has in the tournament.
Xavi Alonso has a pop on goal from fully 40 yards. A clean strike, as ever, but it started wide and ended up much wider.
Sneijder clips Busquets late and falls to the turf. He's lucky not to be carded, and Webb tells him so.
ESPN Stats & Info: This is the seventh all-European final and means that a European nation will win the tournament for a record 10th time.
The free kick is nodded into the air by Heitinga, then Robben tidies up with a neat touch and a huge volley downfield.
Van Bommel clips Xavi and immediately apologises to the ref. He'll be doing plenty of that between now and his sending off I'll wager.
Spain race upfield with Pedro, who cuts onto his left and tries an early shot but drags it wide of the target. Promising signs.
A short corner from the Dutch offers two chances. Van Bommel scuffs his shot on the edge of the box, but he did better than Mathijsen, who totally missed his kick at the back post. A real chance.
Another Robben run yields a Dutch corner. Capdevila doesn't look comfortable.
Well, that would surely have been the most controversial World Cup final goal of all time! As Heitinga hoofed it back he had no intention of scoring, but the ball reared up off the turf and panicked Casillas.
Dirk Kuyt and Sergio Ramos vie for the ball.
Casillas charges out to claim a long ball ahead of Van Persie but cleans Puyol up in the process. Then, as the ball is returned by the Netherlands, it bounces over Casillas who has to touch it behind for a corner! Van Persie, sportingly, returns the ball from the corner.
Busquets nudges into Robben as the Dutch look to break. The game is scrappy, to say the least.
A decent Spain break is brought to a halt by a terrible pass from Iniesta. Yes, you read that right. He fired a ball far too wide for Pedro when the winger was ramping up to run at Van Der Wiel.
That's Holland's two defensive midfield players booked within the opening half an hour. They'll be walking a tightrope for the remainder of the game.
John Brewin, at Soccer City: Er, this is turning into a blood bath. Shame on them for losing the plot so early. This has shades of Holland v Portugal in 2006. Remember Van Bronckhorst and Deco on the naughty step?
De Jong goes in the book now for clattering Alonso with a karate kick in the chest. My word. Horrible challenge. Busquets is going nuts imploring Webb to show a red. He'd do well to button it I reckon.
The Dutch have come right back into the game after an excellent Spain opening. It's much more even now.
Sneijder lets out a roar after Webb penalises his tug on Busquets. We could do with five minutes sans fouls methinks.
Maarten Stekelenburg pulled off a smart save from a Sergio Ramos effort.
John Brewin, at Soccer City: Van Bommel can have no complaints. He's now on sudden death that the Spaniards can exploit. Ramos next. Silly boy. Your correspondent has his requisite red card bet on. Looking good so far.
This is getting silly now. Ramos is booked for piling in on Kuyt. I hope Howard is keeping count.
Van Bommel gets a richly deserved yellow card for an absolutely awful tackle on Iniesta. From behind, nowhere near the ball, and a nice little vignette of his career to date.
Pique clears from the left back position after the Dutch at last string a decent passing move together. Maybe that will iron out their early nerves. Now Robben wins a corner with a jinking run.
ESPN Stats & Info: There has never been an own goal in the World Cup Final.
John Brewin, at Soccer City: That fan in the picture below is Jimmy Jump, terror of many a major final. I thought it was him in Durban but he clearly saved his best for last. That was a fine effort. So close.
Sneijder went for goal from the free-kick, which was out on the right. Casillas got down low and kepty hold of it, before turning and winking at his reporter girlfriend behind the goal (I made that last bit up).
Now Puyol levels up the yellow count, as his tackle on Robben is met with a booking. Maybe a bit harsh, but he did come through the winger.
That was a poor challenge. Van Persie claims he got the ball but Webb, quite rightly, tells him to jog on.
Van Persie is the first to feel Webb's wrath, as his late tackle on Capdevila is met with the final's first yellow card.
A fan is reprimanded for trying to put a hat on the World Cup, before being taken away by stewards.
John Brewin, at Soccer City:Ramos the key man so far. Granted the freedom of Gauteng at the moment. Spain turning the screw. The Dutch need to weather this storm.
From the short corner, Alonso crosses to the back post where Villa smacks a left-footed volley into the side-netting.
Great chance for Spain as Iniesta feeds Ramos, and he sidesteps Kuyt before firing across goal, Heitinga is relieved to see the ball fly off his boot and over the bar.
Now Xavi tries to spring Villa clear and though the striker beat the flag the ball zipped off the turf before he could reach it ahead of Stekelenberg.
John Brewin, at Soccer City: It seems to me that the Spanish are making a meal of challenges. First Busquets and then Ramos.....oh, great save from Steklenberg.
The Dutch have their first sight of goal as Kuyt is offered possession by Busquets 25 yards out but his shot is right at Casillas.
That'll fill Stekelenberg with confidence. Not only did he make a swift reaction save and push the ball wide of goal, he was also up quickly to stop Pique squaring it to Villa for a tap in.
A fine save from Stekelenberg! Xavi's cross was met by Ramos and the 'keeper makes a superb diving save to prevent Spain stealing into an early lead.
Ramos draws Van Bronckhorst into the foul and Spain have a free-kick on the right flank. Xavi over it.
The trophy at stake. Shiny, isn't it?!
Ramos aims a cross towards Villa but Mathijsen nods clear, then the Barcelona striker is flagged offside. A good, bright opening from Spain.
The first foul is committed by Van Persie on Busquets. Thankfully, Webb keeps his cards in his pocket.
KICK OFF We begin! And just think, only 90 more minutes of vuvuzelas to go! Unless there is extra time of course...
ESPN Stats & info: This will be the first World Cup final match without Brazil, Argentina, (West) Germany or Italy in it.
Let's get a quick sweep of predictions inside the Soccernet office then. Tom Adams - Spain 1-0 Holland. Jon Carter - Spain 2-1 Netherlands. Mark Lomas. Netherlands 2-1 Spain. Moi - Spain 2-0 Netherlands. Surely we've enough bases covered for one of us to be right?
ESPN Stats & Info: Spain are the 12th different side to reach a World Cup Final. In case you're interested the list is: Uruguay, Argentina, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, West Germany/Germany, Brazil, Sweden, England, Netherlands, France and Spain.
Spain's is next. Hum along....
The Dutch anthem is first, altogether now....
FIFA president Sepp Blatter is being introduced to the teams. A mild chorus of booing greets his name as it is read out to the crowd. Quite right.
England's Howard Webb leads the teams out to a wall of noise. As Englishman, we are supposed to be proud he has been chosen to officiate the most important game in world football, but the only thing we are all thinking is: "Please don't do a Graham Poll."
Spain fans in Madrid get a tad excited ahead of kick-off.
Just ten minutes until kick-off and the teams are in the tunnel. Here we go!
John Brewin, at Soccer City: On comes Cannavaro to hand back the trophy. I hope he doesn't drop it. It's wrapped in a Louis Vuitton case. Is nothing not sponsorable?
There are many juicy subplots to the final but perhaps the most intruiging is the race for the golden boot. There is a four-way tie at the moment, and each side boast one of the tournament's top marksman in their ranks. Wesley Sneijder and David Villa both have five goals, as do Thomas Muller and Diego Forlan. If it stays that way, Muller will take the prize courtesy of his assist count.
Nelson Mandela delights spectators after appearing at Soccer City during the closing ceremony.
ESPN Stats & Info: The Dutch finished qualifying by winning every match and can become just the second country ever to win all qualifying matches and all World Cup matches to win the title. (Brazil 1970)
The scenes from Madrid are impressive, as fans crowd the city centre to cheer on Spain, but the helicopter view of Amsterdam we've just seen is unbelievable. Orange as far as the eye can see - there must be about a quarter of a million people there.
Netherlands fans in Amsterdam prepare to watch the Oranje in action.
Tom Adams isn't just a top level operator when it comes to banter, the boy can also write. Why not check out his take on the World Cup's highs and the World Cup's lows.
We know how both teams will operate: Spain will play possession football, move the ball quickly and look to get into space in the final third. The Dutch will sit deep and play on the break, with Van Bommel and De Jong providing a protective screen to a rather shaky back line while Robben, Sneijder and Van Persie will be leaned upon to provide moments of magic.
So, after 63 games in 31 days it all comes down to this. Tonight the World Cup will have a new name etched on it, and send an entire nation into raptures. Whatever happens, it will be the first time a European nation has lifted the trophy outside their home continent.
We've so much quality writing previewing the final, you'd better get started now if you want to read it all before kick-off. Here is our preview of the game, and here is John Brewin's take on the World Cup climax.
We've got all angles covered tonight. I'll be concentrating fully on match updates but my Soccernet colleague Tom Adams will be offering top quality banter and answering your questions while keeping you fully updated on events on the pitch too. Hop over here to join him.
Shortly after the closing ceremony finished former president Nelson Mandela emerged onto the pitch to a rapturous reception. A family tragedy prevented him from attending the tournament's opening but finally, the man they call 'Madiba' has graced this World Cup. An occasion of such magnitude wouldn't have been complete without sight of the great man. Emotional and powerful stuff.
A short time ago we were treated to a joyous closing ceremony that incorporated elephants, a huge projected xylophone onto the pitch and a festicval of song and dance. Yes, the delectable Shakira was there, but no, sadly Paul the psychic octopus didn't make a surprise appearance.
Bert van Marwijk makes two expected changes to the side that booked Holland's final berth: Nigel De Jong comes in for Demy De Zeeuw and Gregory Van Der Wiel returns in place of Khalid Boulahrouz.
Without further ado, let's get the team news. The main headline is that Fernando Torres will start the match warming the bench alongside Cesc Fabregas, as Vicente del Bosque names an unchanged side.
A very good evening to you all and welcome to live coverage of the biggest sporting event on the planet with me, Chris Murphy. Olympics? Pah. Superbowl? Not today thanks. This is the World Cup final from South Africa, between Spain and the Netherlands. There is only one word to describe it - epic.
Join us at 1830 GMT to see who will be crowned the 2010 World Champions at Soccer City.
It's the one we've all been waiting for... the World Cup final! Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk says he has taken inspiration from the 'Total Football' legends of the past, but one of them, Johan Cruyff, is backing Spain to come out on top in the match.