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Netherlands 0-1 Spain (aet)

Del Bosque praises players

July 11, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Vicente del Bosque paid tribute to his "great players" after Andres Iniesta's extra-time strike ensured Spain were crowned World Cup winners in Johannesburg on Sunday night.

Iker Casillas holds the World Cup aloft
GettyImagesIker Casillas captained Spain to their 2012 World Cup triumph

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Iniesta pounced on a pass from Cesc Fabregas before thumping the ball past Maarten Stekelenburg and the Barcelona star's moment of class means that Spain are world champions for the first time, and the first European side to win the World Cup outside of the continent.

Spain also emerged victorious at Euro 2008 - making them the third team to hold both titles after West Germany and France - and Del Bosque paid tribute to his team for achieving the remarkable feat.

"It was a difficult match," Del Bosque said. "We started well, then they got the match under control. In the second half, there was a chance by Robben and Casillas saved us from the worst. Afterwards, I think that we were slightly better.

"Fabregas came on and we began to dominate. We had greater ball possession and depth in our game. We created chances for Cesc and David Villa which we could have converted, but that's the way football goes.

"It was a very difficult game but our players are fantastic. They have managed to win it first time. It is true that they [Netherlands] had chances to score but we have had four clear chances. We owe everything to them, these great players.

"We have had 50 days without incident, I feel very proud of the players. They also know and appreciate what we have achieved in a group that has great values and principles. This is invaluable for Spain. It's a very happy day for all the Spanish people.

"The dressing room is delighted, ecstatic. But Spain, the country, deserves this triumph, this World Cup. This goes beyond sport. We have to celebrate. All the people have been behind us in Spain, and we're delighted to reward them with this victory.''