In claiming its first World Cup championship with a 1-0 win over a hardworking but ultimately overmatched Dutch team, Spain demonstrated that playing beautiful football isn’t a reward in itself. If you want the trophy, sometimes you’ve got to win a little ugly. And this game was no a piece of art. Spain was more than willing to play, but Holland was not going to allow it.
It was an understandable choice. In its earlier appearances in the finals of 1974 and 1978, Holland was considered soccer’s elite squad. This time those shoes were on Spanish feet, and Holland made no pretense about trying to copy the precious possession game that brought Spain the European championship in 2008.
It would all come down to one cross in a hundred that Holland couldn’t deal with. It was a just ending, ample reward for Spain’s skill and industry. This game had the potential to be tremendous, yet it was tremendously disappointing.
A thunderous roar erupted across the Spanish capital and fans danced in the streets and chanted “Viva Espana!” as the country’s first ever FIFA World Cup™ trophy sparked a nationwide fiesta. The centre of the capital was a sea of the red and gold national colours as Spain celebrated its agonising 1-0 extra-time win over the Netherlands on Sunday.