Spain Defeats Netherlands to Win the 2010 FIFA World Cup
In Sunday's overtime game against the Netherlands, Spain won its first-ever World Cup Trophy, 1-0. On Monday, their home country greeted the team as heroes as soon as they stepped off the plane.
After the players met with Spain's king and its prime minister, hundreds of thousands of adoring fans greeted the team during an open-air bus ride through the capital city of Madrid.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for international association football teams held every four years. Spain won the tournament, which took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010. The bidding process for hosting the tournament finals was open only to African nations; in 2004, the international football federation, FIFA, selected South Africa over Egypt and Morocco to become the first African nation to host the finals.
The matches were played in ten stadia in nine host cities around the country, with the final played at the Soccer City stadium in South Africa's largest city, Johannesburg. Thirty-two teams were selected for participation via a worldwide qualification tournament that began in August 2007. In the first round of the tournament finals, the teams competed in round-robin groups of four teams for points, with the top two teams in each group proceeding. These sixteen teams advanced to the knockout stage, where three rounds of play decided which teams would participate in the final match.
After enduring 80 years to win the World Cup, Spain certainly wasn't going to let the Netherlands' bruising tactics, 30 minutes of overtime, a record number of yellow cards and several squandered scoring opportunities to get in the way of history.
The wait ended Sunday night when, in the 116th minute of an abrasive, unattractive match on the brink of heading to a penalty kick tiebreaker, midfielder Andres Iniesta scored against the short-handed Dutch for a 1-0 victory before 84,490 at Soccer City Stadium.
They were wearing dark blue on Sunday in South Africa, and for nearly 120 minutes they didn't look like themselves. Stuttering and out of sync, Spain was on the brink several times in its first World Cup final as a rugged Dutch side pounded them to near submission.
Then, with four minutes remaining in overtime and the nauseating prospect of a penalty kick lottery looming large, a moment of genius from Cesc Fàbregas and Andrés Iniesta finally unleashed La Furia Roja at Johannesburg's Soccer City Stadium.