Spanish ecstatic to beat 'rough' Dutch
Ecstatic Spanish players have spoken over their joy at overcoming a "rough" Dutch side to claim a historic 1-0 World Cup final triumph while coach Vicente del Bosque said it was a win for "beautiful football".
Iniesta struggled to exert his usual influence on the match and was lucky to avoid punishment for a retaliatory trip on Mark van Bommel after the Netherlands enforcer had got away with a late challenge in the second half of normal time. The Dutch team clearly tried to unsettle Spain's famous passing game with over-physical play but Iniesta's winner, four minutes from the end of extra time, sent Spain into raptures.
Iniesta said: "I can't quite believe this yet. I had the opportunity to score that goal that was so important for my team, and it's incredible. I've made a small contribution in a very tough game, a very rough game - there were all sorts of things happening on the pitch. Spain deserved to win this World Cup. It's something we have to remember and enjoy, and should feel very proud of everyone in this squad. The manner in which it happened, we gave everything. To win the World Cup - there are no words to describe it."
Coach Vicente del Bosque also described the match as rough but he refused to vilify his opponents, an approach perhaps made easier by the fact his team won in the end.
Del Bosque said: I'm here to speak about the beautiful things in football. It was a very intense game, balanced and even. It was rough at times but that's part of football. They made it very difficult for us to play comfortably. There was pressing from both sides but football is moving forward. The reward today was for beautiful football. I tried to ring home in the dressing room after the game but everyone was ecstatic and it was difficult to speak, it was so loud."
Midfielder Xabi Alonso nominated Iniesta as his player of the tournament after the match, while failing to find the words to sum up his emotions at becoming a world champion.
"It's incredible. It's difficult to expain, it's a euphoria, a joy.... Andres Iniesta is the Golden Ball," Alonso told AS.
Fellow holding midfielder Sergio Busquets had his family, friends and his nation in his mind when asked about the victory.
"Football owed this to Spain," he said. "I dedicate it to all my friends, my whole family, to those who have not been here. This World Cup will stay with us forever. I still cannot believe it. I just can't wait to go back to Spain now and enjoy this with our people."
Fabregas too dedicated victory to his family and the fans while saying his role off the bench in the final, in which he turned the tide in Spain's favour and set up Iniesta for the goal, made up for lost time spent as a substitute throughout the tournament.
"It is an historic moment which we do not know if it will ever be repeated," Fabregas said. "I dedicate the win to my whole family. I was a bit down because I had not played much and did not want it to be like that, but in the end it was all worth it. Thank you to all the fans, they are the best. We have not noticed all of our supporters that much, but we know from family and friends. I hope that in two years we have another great joy like this."