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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Nigel de Jong hopes to laugh with Xabi Alonso about World Cup final tackle one day

A new wave of stars will aim to help Spain return to World Cup glory after a forgettable tournament in 2014.
Spain didn't make it out of the group stage in 2014. La Roja will be looking to put things right in their 15th World Cup.

Nigel de Jong has said he hopes to sit down with Xabi Alonso one day and laugh about the chest-high tackle he made on the Spain international in the 2010 World Cup final.

Netherlands midfielder De Jong avoided being sent off for the challenge but insisted there was no malice involved and that Alonso, whose Spain team won the game 1-0 to secure the World Cup, ended up having the last laugh.

"I just wanted to play the ball -- that was my only focus," he told FourFourTwo. "I didn't see Alonso coming because he was on my blind side. I didn't expect to get sent off at the time because I felt it was obviously an unfortunate incident.

"I was lucky that an English referee [Howard Webb] was in charge, because he'd seen many hard challenges in the past. I thought he would give me the benefit of the doubt because I put my hands up immediately."

De Jong continued: "We've seen each other but we've never spoken about that moment -- it's just a moment in football history. We play a contact sport and sometimes you will get a red for a lesser challenge.

"That incident came on the world stage so it gained a lot of attention. Maybe one day we'll see each other, have a beer and laugh about it. Ultimately, he won the game. I think he had the last laugh."

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