The Spaniards huffed and puffed; and they puffed, and puffed, and ...
Well it took 116 minutes of puffing, but Andres Iniesta scored the lone goal Sunday to give Spain their first FIFA World Cup title. And it came off a Dutch mistake in the backline, when they turned the ball over just outside the penalty box to an opportunistic Cesc Fabregas, who passed the ball out to a wide-open Iniesta.
The Dutch cried offsides and harassed the line official while Spain celebrated in the corner. Replays verified there was no offsides while Iniesta took off his jersey in celebration -- which he was yellow-carded for. Didn't matter, Spain won.
For their part, the Netherlands didn't really deserve the win anyway. Spain was the team pushing the tempo and creating the most offense throughout the game. They controlled possession, while the Dutch resulted to near hooliganism. This match ended with 14 cards, the Dutch responsible for 9 of them. Many ugly challenges, most of them unnecessary. Then there's the foul -- I mean karate kick -- by the orange-clad Nigel De Jung.
Dutch fans filled the majority of the seats at Soccer City, as their trademark orange gear made Dynamo fans look bush-league. They cheered loud and long for 116 minutes, but the smaller Spanish contingent blew their vuvuzelas loudest at the end.
Among the 80,000+ in attendance were celebrities, royalty, and heads of states. But none of them were as memorable as the brief appearance made by Nelson Mandela before the match. The 91-year-old, iconic former president of South Africa showed up before the match with his wife alongside him in a golf cart to wave to the fans and greet FIFA officials on the field.
What's most important about Spain's victory is that Paul the oracle octopus was perfect in his predictions throughout the World Cup. Maybe now he won't be eaten.
Germany wins third
In Saturday's game for third place, Germany beat Uruguay 3-2 -- a far more superior offensive game. It was a come-from-behind victory for the Germans, who got the go-ahead goal from Sami Khedira in the 82nd minute.
Diego Forlan -- who was awarded the Golden Ball (World Cup MVP) -- scored for Uruguay in the 51st minute.
Remember the Dynamo?
The local orange-clad team played this past Saturday to a 0-0 draw against the Columbus Crew at Robertson Stadium. Despite being winless in their last six league matches, Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear feels his club is "inches away from pulling off something good."
They better do it fast too; soccer has gained some momentum in this town, and nothing brings in the fans better than winning. The Dynamo are in the middle of the MLS regular season and Super Liga is about to begin. Then there's the MLS All-Star game on July 28, where the MLSers will host global giant Manchester United FC.
Even though the World Cup is over, there's still plenty of soccer to go around.
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