When Spain erased the pain

Andres Iniesta scores in the final of the 2010 World Cup against Netherlands.

Was it football or kung fu was the question on many spectators’ minds as the burly Nigel de Jong planted his studs on the rather prim and proper Xabi Alonso.

It was still early days in the 2010 final at Johannesburg but de Jong and his partner in crime Mark van Bommel were setting the tone with some absolutely unruly tackles on a technically superior and quicker Spanish side.

How de Jong was allowed to stay on the pitch after that horrendous tackle was something only English referee Howard Webb can explain.

But even Bert van Marwijk’s barbaric tactics and the horrendous sound of the vuvuzelas couldn’t dampen Spain’s spirit as their time in the sun had finally come. Andres Iniesta collected Cesc Fabregas’ ball and struck it past Maarten Stekelenburg, reeling off in celebration.

Many other incidents would make it a memorable World Cup, though maybe not for the right reasons. It began with the Jabulani ball that was proving to be an absolute nightmare for goalkeepers with its dip and swerve.

The English somewhat got a taste of their own medicine when they were steamrolled by Germany in the Round of 16, contentiously being disallowed a goal that had crossed the line. Probably karma considering Geoff Hurst had been controversially had his 1966 final goal allowed.

Probably the most despicable act of the World Cup came from Uruguayan Luis Suarez. In the quarterfinal versus Ghana, Suarez deliberately used his hand to keep the ball out of the net and Asamoah Gyan missed the resultant penalty. Suarez would later say, “It was worth being sent off in this way.”

Final result: Spain: 1 bt Netherlands: 0.

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When Spain erased the pain

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