It’s almost fitting, when one thinks about it, that two such equally matched teams as Spain and the Netherlands played such a tight match in the final game of a glorious World Cup tournament in South Africa on Sunday.
However, don’t believe for one second that these two teams played to their full potential. Much of the passing was sloppy and the game set a record for penalty cards — 14 yellow cards in all!
Both sides had trouble finding scoring opportunities, and when they did arise, nothing seemed to come of them. That is, however, until extra time.
In the 116th minute, Andres Iniesta, one of the victims of the yellow card plague for his excessive celebrations, was able to kick a rocket of a shot past Dutch goalie Maarten Stekelenburg. The ball went into the high left corner of the net for a goal.
Just over five minutes later, Spain became the soccer champions of the world, and an entire nation rejoiced and praised their dear Rojos!
After 115 minutes of such poorly played and brutally physical soccer, it was quite a relief to see a player on either side be a hero. It just goes to show possibly the greatest thing there is about the World Cup: Anyone on either team, if presented with just the right chance, can become immortalized in the legacy of that nation.
For Andres Iniesta, his shining moment did exactly that. Iniesta will be remembered by all players, coaches, and fans of the game for years and years to come.
Now the soccer world looks forward to Brazil in 2014, hosts of the next World Cup. So, who will be the next Andres Iniesta?
—Sean Coffey Photo: Spain's Iker Casillas (center) holds up the World Cup trophy during the awarding ceremony after the 2010 World Cup final against the Netherlands at Soccer City staidum in Johannesburg, South Aftica, July 11, 2010. Spain won the match 1-0. (Credit: Chine Nouvelle/SIPA)
Photo: Spain's Iker Casillas (center) holds up the World Cup trophy during the awarding ceremony after the 2010 World Cup final against the Netherlands at Soccer City staidum in Johannesburg, South Aftica, July 11, 2010. Spain won the match 1-0. (Credit: Chine Nouvelle/SIPA)