(Sunday, July 11th)
Final Score: Spain 1, Netherlands 0
Johannesburg, South Africa (Sports Network) - Andres Iniesta scored in the 116th minute to help Spain claim its first FIFA World Cup title with a 1-0 win over the Netherlands at Soccer City Stadium on Sunday.
Just minutes after Dutch defender John Heitinga was sent off for receiving his second yellow card, substitute Cesc Fabregas picked up the ball near the top of the penalty area and lofted it into the box for Iniesta to smash past goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
"It's hard to put into words how it feels to win a World Cup," Iniesta said. "To win it that way was amazing. It didn't come easy and I still can't believe it. I'm just happy I managed to do my bit and score such an important goal for the national side. It's a game to remember and to celebrate. All we want to do now is go home and enjoy it."
With the win, Spain becomes the eighth different nation to win the World Cup, while the Netherlands has now appeared in three World Cup finals without a win.
"We're incredibly disappointed," Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong said. "We gave it our best shot, but it wasn't to be."
Spain threatened a few times in the early going and nearly took the lead inside of five minutes from a free kick as Sergio Ramos turned a powerful header on goal from the middle of the penalty area that Stekelenburg did well to parry.
David Villa then had a volley go close from a Xabi Alonso cross, while Arjen Robben's low shot in first-half stoppage time needed to be pushed past the post by Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Xavi tried to find the upper-right corner of the net with a free kick that sailed wide in the 55th minute, but the best chance of the match came seven minutes later.
Wesley Sneijder played a well-weighted through ball into the path of Robben, who dashed past the Spanish defense and was left alone with the goalkeeper. However, his shot clipped the foot of Casillas and was deflected narrowly wide.
Spain then had two good opportunities in a five-minute span as Heitinga made a mess of a low cross from Spain's Jesus Navas, allowing Villa to get off a shot from a few yards out that was somehow deflected over the crossbar by Stekelenburg.
The second chance came from a corner kick and was squandered by Ramos, who sent a free header over the net from six yards.
Five minutes into extra time Fabregas was given a golden chance to put Spain in front when Iniesta put him through on goal, but he shot into the legs of the goalie.
Navas then had a deflected effort hit the outside of the net before the Netherlands was reduced to 10 men in the 109th minute when Heitinga picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Iniesta.
And the winning goal arrived seven minutes later as Fabregas set up Iniesta for a shot from 10 yards that flew past the goalie.
07/11 22:22:07 ET