Holland v. Spain
The FIFA World Cup trophy which Holland and Spain are fighting for in the final at Johannesburg's Soccer City Stadium.
SPAIN ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS AFTER BEATING HOLLAND 1-0 in an epic battle at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg.
From Madrid to Majorca and Barcelona to the Basque Country they will be singing the name of Andres Iniesta after his cool finish five minutes from the end of extra-time decided the World Cup final.
Dutch defender Johnny Heitinga was sent off in a fractious encounter which saw 12 other bookings as referee Howard Webb struggled to keep control with tackles flying in left, right and centre.
Spain, who are the eighth country to claim the title, now have the complete set after winning the European Championship in 2008.
To see how Spain conquered the world, read on.
2119 GMT: The players bounce around on the podium chanting "campeones, campeones, olé, olé, olé."
2116 GMT: Here come the champions! The players kiss the trophy as they file past to shake the hands of the dignitaries and receive their gold medals.
Sepp Blatter and Jacob Zuma, hand-in-hand, present captain Iker Casillas with the trophy and................
...............there it is!!!!!!!!!! Casillas hoists the trophy aloft!
2115 GMT: Holland pick up their second-place medals. Understandably, they don't look in the mood to appreciate them. Van Marwijk takes his off immediately.
2114 GMT: Spain change into pre-prepared shirts, with one star over the crest. Nice touch.
Referee Howard Webb picks up his medal after an impossibly difficult match. If he had been to the letter of the law it would've been a farce. There were 12 bookings and a sending-off, and he was lenient!
The officials are roundly booed by the crowd. A little harsh, if you have so many decisions to make, you're going to get some wrong.
2107 GMT: Holland may have a case, there was a hint of a foul in the build-up to the goal, but they were on the end of some very generous decisions earlier on.
"No-one else can play like they do," BBC's Alan Shearer says of Spain. "They pass teams to death and they're great players."
His colleague Lee Dixon is happy with the outcome. "There's only one team who wanted to win right from the start and we didn't want to see that. The kicking off the ball was out of order."
120+3 mins: FULL-TIME! Holland 0 Spain 1
SPAIN ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!
Pure emotion out on the pitch. Casillas is in floods of tears, Robben and Sneijder are furious with the referee while orange bodies are strewn, broken on the pitch.
Andres Iniesta is the hero, gobbling up the opportunity for greatness when it arose.
120+2 mins: Torres has done his hammie. He's going to be down for a while but there will be moments left when he is up or off.
120+1 mins: YELLOW CARD! Xavi in the book for kicking the ball away. All hands to the pump in the Spain box, but Holland look spent.
119 mins: YELLOW CARD! Two bookings in the ensuing chaos. Iniesta for taking his shirt off and Mathijsen for complaining there had been a foul in the build-up.
Spain one minute from complete ecstasy. Make that two, added for stoppages.
116 mins: GOAL! Holland 0 Spain 1
Andres Iniesta finally breaks the Dutch resistance. Torres plays a ball to Fabregas, who keeps his cool brilliantly to free Iniesta and the Barcelona man controls before firing the bouncing ball gleefully into the corner.
115 mins: Free-kick 30 yards from goal for Holland. Sneijder's shot is deflected wide by the wall but for some reason a goal-kick is given.
113 mins: Robben could have followed Heitinga after kicking the ball away. Holland could be down to about six men with a more fussy referee. Robben to score the winning penalty anyone?
111 mis: YELLOW CARD! Yet another booking as Van der Wiel takes out Capdevila.
Xavi's viciously curling free-kick is dealt with well by Stekelenburg.
109 mins: RED CARD! The inevitable. Johnny Heitinga is off for pulling back Iniesta when he burst through. It could have been a straight red, so no complaints.
Contact was minimal but he had his hands on Iniesta's shoulders. Xavi hits the free-kick a foot over the bar, but it was too central anyway.
108 mins: Elia gets Ramos exactly where he wants him but knocks it too far and can't hook his foot around the cross. Shame for the substitute, it was a good opening.
106 mins: Last throw of the dice for Spain and it's a huge one. Fernando Torres comes on for David Villa. Like-for-like, Villa's now out of contention for the golden boot.
A great time for the Liverpool hitman to find his striking boots.
105 mins: HALF-TIME - EXTRA-TIME! Holland 0 Spain 0
Still stalemate. Your guess is as good as mine, but Spain look like they are going to get more chances. Can someone finally take el toro by the horns?
What a way to bow out. Giovanni Van Bronckhorst's career is over as his weary legs are given a rest. Edson Braafheid is on.
104 mins: An irresistible surge through the middle by Fabregas ends with the Arsenal man trying to curl a shot into the far corner, but it's wide.
100 mins: Oh, surely that was in! Navas cuts into the area and hits a shot which deflects off Van Bronckhorst and finds the side netting.
99 mins: Holland make their second change: Rafael van der Vaart comes on for Nigel de Jong.
98 mins: By the looks of it, neither team is keen on penalties. Very positive start to extra-time, but as yet no-one has been brave enough to seize the moment.
Iniesta is the next man to fluff his lines after being put clear by Fabregas. He takes too long and is denied by experienced defending from Van Bronckhorst, who is playing his last ever game.
95 mins: Fabregas blows a golden chance. He is clean through but hits a weak effort against the legs of Stekelenburg.
At the other end Mathijsen gets onto a right-wing corner with Casillas flapping but can't direct his header into the open goal.
Phew, what a couple of minutes!
92 mins: Penalty appeal! Xavi is about to shoot in the box but kicks Heitinga's leg instead and misses the ball. Good decision, Xavi initiated the contact.
However, Fabregas was a little unlucky moments earlier after being taken out on the edge of the area, the referee not impressed with his theatrical fall.
91 mins: We're back where we started what seem like a lifetime ago with Spain kicking-off the action.
2025 GMT: OK then, take a deep breath, there's more to come. Both teams are showing incredible will-power, but who's going to blink first?
90+3 mins: FULL-TIME! Holland 0 Spain 0.
Sneijder has a ridiculous shot from about 50 yards. Casillas takes the goalkick and the whistle is blown.
90+1 mins: There's three added minutes. The immovable Dutch wall again blocks Spain's best efforts, they've also created the best chances this half, and have been much less brutal.
90 mins: Last minute of normal time. The intensity is turned up to 11.
87 mins: Cesc Fabregas is on for Xabi Alonso. Anyone fancy making themselves a hero or are we in for extra-time?
83 mins: Robben again! He is in behind Puyol, who definitely has a nibble, but stays on his feet admirably although loses time in the process, giving Casillas the chance to come out and smother the danger.
YELLOW CARD! Robben is then booked for remonstrating with the referee over the lack of a whistle. It was outside the box, but Puyol would've been in all sorts of trouble.
81 mins: Iniesta wriggles clear in the area but cuts inside when there was a vast space open on the outside and he is promptly stopped by Sneijder's superb tackle.
79 mins: Van Bommel irritates Iniesta by leaving his foot in the tackle a little too long. The Barcelona man responds by checking Van Bommel off the ball and is told off by referee Webb.
76 mins: Villa has another effort, a volley from a tight angle but again it's wayward.
A minute later, Villa is involved in a smart one-two but his shot is blocked for a corner.
From the set-piece, Sergio Ramos is completely free, six-yards form goal, but blazes his header over the top. Another fabulous chance wasted.
73 mins: Heitinga again the centre of attention, fouling Iniesta on the edge of the box. Clumsy rather than malicious but he's been booked so needs to be careful.
Villa takes but it's nowhere near the target.
72 mins: This is warming up extremely nicely. Speed merchant Elijiero Elia is on for Dirk Kuyt as the Dutch look to take advantage of tired legs.
70 mins: How did that stay out? Navas surges down the wing and fires in a cross which Heitinga makes a mess of. The loose ball is perfect for Villa but the prostrate Heitinga atones by deflecting his shot over the bar.
68 mins: Villa is flagged after being put through by Pique. Perhaps his foot was off, but it was close. He had a bad first touch anyway, so probably no damage done.
65 mins: It seems someone added another 50 yards to the size of the pitch at half-time as it's so much more open now. The Dutch are looking hungry but Spain nearly break through, Iniesta denied at the last.
YELLOW CARD! Joan Capdevila trips Van Persie just as the Arsenal man was breaking down the wing.
62 mins: The chance of the game so far falls to Robben but Casillas breaks his heart with a fantastic save.
Sneijder releases the Bayern Munich winger through the middle. He is completely free but the Real stopper flings out a right boot to deflect his finish out for a corner.
60 mins: First change. Pedro, who has been anonymous, is replaced by dangerous winger Jesus Navas. Still no Fernando Torres.
Van Persie gets his head onto a free-kick but loops his effort over the bar.
56 mins: YELLOW CARD! Johnny Heitinga takes out Villa and is the fifth Dutch player to be booked. Relative to the other fouls, not too bad, but still a stone-wall yellow.
Van Bommel, extremely unsportingly, gives the ball back, but for a throw-in deep in Spain territory rather than to the keeper. Del Bosque sarcastically applauds on the bench.
Iniesta then takes out Sneijder as retribution but is not booked. This is getting really niggly. You can't blame the referee, the players are making it impossible, but it's getting silly.
55 mins: YELLOW CARD! Giovanni Van Bronckhorst blocks Ramos in a threatening area and the captain is booked.
Xavi goes for goal and it's two-feet wide of the post. Stekelenburg was unworried.
52 mins: Good Dutch pressure high up the pitch forces an error from Puyol. Robben has another dig from distance from the resulting throw-in, but Casillas saves. It was going wide anyway.
50 mins: Holland respond with a smart move of their own but Van der Wiel's low cross is futile as there are no Dutchmen in the area.
47 mins: They start like a train, it looks like they've cleared their heads. Puyol meets Xavi's corner and it drops perfectly for Capdevila eight-yards from goal but it bounces between his legs. A very good opportunity wasted.
46 mins: Spain restart the action. How rattled are they by Holland's approach? We shall see.
1930 GMT: Clarence Seedorf is talking on BBC. "I think Spain started well but Holland got the right position in midfield to make it difficult for Spain. There's a lot of chess going on."
1924 GMT: If Holland win this, you will hear the football purists grinding their teeth for the next four years. Personally, I think it's a fascinating clash of styles, which the Dutch are probably just edging.
They should be down to ten men after De Jong's horror assault on Alonso and Van Bommel's relentless dirtiness so you would expect if Spain keep their cool, they will expose the fragile position of Holland's defensive midfielders.
1920 GMT: BBC's Alan Hansen has a different slant on Holland's robust approach.
"Total football, that's a laugh, more like total thuggery!" he rages. "De Jong should be off. I'm all for working hard but this is too much."
Former England legend Alan Shearer concurs.
"If this was a group game Holland would be down to nine men. They've got their tactics right and it's been pretty even but they've got no lives left. They will get red cards if they continue like that," he says.
45+3 mins: HALF-TIME! Holland 0 Spain 0
It's all square at the break. Spain will be livid with the Dutch approach, but the men in orange will think they have no choice.
45 mins: Holland will be very satisfied with their first 45 minutes. After a nervous start they've completely stopped Spain from playing. It might not be pretty, but you don't win World Cups for aesthetics.
They nearly go in a goal up after Puyol clears a dangerous free-kick before Casillas gets down quickly to push Robben's long-range shot away for a corner.
43 mins: Sneijder flies into another tackle, and is lucky not to be booked, but at least he was going for the ball.
41 mins: An absorbing rather than exciting encounter, which is not entirely surprising given the magnitude of the occasion.
Holland are getting stuck in, but they look sure to get a sending-off if they carry on flying into tackles.
39 mins: Dangerous free-kick for Spain after a foul by that man Van Bommel. It goes just over Puyol's head.
37 mins: A Holland corner is pulled back to Van Bommel who moves the ball to Joris Mathijsen in plenty of space in the area, but he shows the finishing prowess expected of a defender, completely mis-kicking the ball.
34 mins: Nearly the most disastrous final goal of all time!
The ball was played back to Casillas after Spain put it out of play for an injury break. The return bounced over his head but went just wide, surely they wouldn't have claimed the goal but it can't do much for Casillas's state of mind.
30 mins: If Holland are to prosper, they will need to sail close to the wind to disrupt Spain's pattern of play. That was too much though, and Spain's bench was understandably furious.
Both De Jong and Van Bommel are now presumably one foul away from a red, which should give Spain confidence.
27 mins: Things are getting much closer now, which clearly suits the Dutch. They said they wanted to stifle Spain's passing, and at the moment they are succeeding.
YELLOW CARD! It could have been red for Nigel de Jong. He karate kicks Xabi Alonso in the chest but is shown clemency by referee Howard Webb.
25 mins: Scratch that. Van Bommel does exactly what he always does, lunging full-length to dispossess Puyol, flattening the Barcelona defender in the process. You have to admire him!
22 mins: YELLOW CARD! The most obvious booking of the tournament predictably goes to Mark van Bommel.
A really nasty hack at Andres Iniesta means the Bayern Munich man will have to watch his step, which could be a problem. That was worth a yellow-and-a-half.
20 mins: A lively run down the wing by Robben is cut short, but at the expense of a corner. It comes to nothing.
20 mins: A spell of possession for Holland, which is exactly what they needed to settle the nerves.
16 mins: YELLOW CARD! One each in terms of bookings as Carlos Puyol goes through the back of Arjen Robben. The Dutchman doesn't usually need an invitation to go down, but that looked genuinely painful.
Wesley Sneijder has a go from the free-kick, about 45-yards out, and tests Iker Casillas, but the Real Madrid keeper is equal to the task.
14 mins: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson called Barcelona's style "the passing carousel" after their 2009 Champions League final. At the moment Holland know exactly what he means, they can't get on the ride.
YELLOW CARD! Robin van Persie takes out Joan Capdevila and receives a warranted booking. It's his second nasty foul already.
11 mins: Spain are turning the screw. Ramos waltzes past Kuyt and fires a low ball across the six-yard box which Johnny Heitinga boots over the bar, I'm not sure he was in control of that though.
From the corner, David Villa finds space at the back post but fires his volley into the side-netting.
10 mins: More form AFP's Ryland James in the stadium:
"It's a sea of 'oranje' at Soccer City with two big blocks of Dutch fans behind the Spanish goal, Spain captain Iker Casillas will not be getting much support from that half of the ground," he says.
"A fan managed to breach security and charged onto the field as the teams walked out, he was swiftly dragged off by stewards and can expect a night in a Johannesburg jail.
"Best dressed fans seen on the way into the stadium were a group of Scotsmen in full kilt and splendour, wearing oranje flower necklaces. Hop Holland, laddie!"
7 mins: Pedro is on the right-wing, but looks like he will tuck in to leave space for Ramos to bomb down the wing.
So far so good for Spain, Holland look tentative, despite a long-range shot from Dirk Kuyt which is easily saved.
4 mins: GREAT SAVE! Sergio Ramos meets Xavi's right-wing free-kick but Maarten Stekelenburg reacts quickly to push the ball away. Gerard Pique gets to the rebound but is crowded out.
1 min: An instant message sent by Robin van Persie as he goes though the back of Sergio Busquets but he's not booked. Spain quickly into their tikki takka passing routine.
1 min: HERE WE GO! Holland, in their famous orange, get the 2010 World Cup final underway. Spain are in their dark blue away kit.
1828 GMT: Spain is gripped by football fever according to my AFP colleague, Denholm Barnetson, who is in the capital.
"Madrid's giant 'fan park' is a sea of red and gold, with more 100,000 exuberant fans singing and dancing -- and the game hasn't even started," he says.
1825 GMT: Sporadic singing among the Dutch players, but they are all hugs and look determined.
No singing from the Spanish players, unsuprisingly given it has no words. They too favour the group hug, with Carlos Puyol looking like a menacing lost-member of the Ramones.
1822 GMT: The players are out to great fanfare before being met by president Zuma and FIFA boss Sepp Blatter.
The tension is palpable.
1815 GMT: One of the narratives of the tournament has been the triumph of team-work over individuality with the recognised superstars failing to make an impression.
This is clearly demonstrated by the two teams contesting the final. Holland are numbered from one to eleven, an example of how well coach Bert van Marwijk knows his best team.
Spain's starting eleven contains seven Barcelona players, a fact picked up upon by BBC pundit and former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen.
"You can spot it's a club partnership," he says of the Xavi/Iniesta midfield axis. "One of them sits and one of them goes, their appreciation of space is unbelievable.
"They can play their way through the middle and that's incredibly difficult to do."
1813 GMT: Whatever the outcome, the tournament has been an unmitigated success for the country of South Africa and the continent as a whole, despite the poor showing from the national teams.
A suitably triumphant closing ceremony has set the stage and a brief appearance by former president and South African national hero Nelson Mandela has put a smile on the 90,000 strong crowd gathered for this momentous sporting occasion.
My AFP colleague Ryland James is soaking up the occasion inside the ground. "Soccer City is already a sea of light and colour," he says.
"Shakira has shaken her hips, Ladysmith Black Mambazo have sung for rain (we haven't seen much of that in Johannesburg in the last four weeks) and the scene is set for the main event.
"Plenty of orange here, but the Spanish are also present in numbers."
This from president Jacob Zuma: "When we won the rights to host the World Cup, we knew that working together we would be able to succeed. However, what has happened so far, has exceeded our expectations.
"That is because of the role played by our people, the South Africans. They are the stars and champions of this tournament."
1811 GMT: Amazing aerial footage from Amsterdam where tens of thousands of orange-wearing fans have congregated to watch the match. "It looks like beans on toast," BBC pundit Lee Dixon notices.
1810 GMT: Perhaps the most intriguing match-up is between the two playmakers, Xavi for Spain and Wesley Sneijder for Holland.
Despite being similar in size, their personalities couldn't be more different with the humble, business-like Spaniard pitted against the extroverted, super-confident Dutchman.
Sneijder's mouth has got him into more than a few spats with his team-mates, striker Robin van Persie is reportedly not a big fan, but the "smurf," as he has not entirely affectionately been nicknamed, is on the cusp of an unprecedented quadruple having already claimed the Champions League and Italian league and cup with his Inter Milan team.
Whether the midfielder's bravado combined with his country's new-found battling attitude will be enough to succeed where the famous Dutch "total football" teams failed in 1974 and 1978 remains to be seen.
1807 GMT: Of course, today's game is a pure formality as Paul the Octopus, the infamous tentacled tipster, has already awarded the trophy to Spain.
Should he be proved correct, he can add Holland to the expanding list of countries where he can no longer set foot. Or should that be feet?
1804 GMT: No surprises, but Spain striker Fernando Torres will be hurting that Barcelona's Pedro retains his place after a lively showing in their semi-final win against Germany.
Holland welcome back full-back Gregory van der Wiel and midfield attack-dog Nigel de Jong from suspension.
The Manchester City man, along with fellow destroyer Mark van Bommel, will need to engage with Spain's pass-masters Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta from the first second if they are to succeed.
1800 GMT: Here are the players entrusted with the hopes of two nations:
Holland: Maarten Stekelenburg, Gregory van der Wiel, Johnny Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen, Giovanni van Bronckhorst (capt), Mark van Bommel, Nigel de Jong, Dirk Kuyt, Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie.
Coach: Bert van Marwijk
Spain: Iker Casillas (capt), Sergio Ramos, Carlos Puyol, Gerard Pique, Joan Capdevila, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Pedro, David Villa.
Coach: Vicente del Bosque
Referee: Howard Webb (England)
A WARM WELCOME TO OUR LIVE COMMENTARY OF the biggest game in town as Holland and Spain contest the 2010 World Cup final at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg.
Neither team has ever won football's greatest prize, so whoever comes out on top will become the competition's eighth different champion.
For one set of players awaits instant immortality while the other will be left with a lifetime to reflect on what might have been.
Spain's David Villa and Holland's Wesley Sneijder have been the stand-out performers so far and are tied at the top of the scoring charts with five goals each.
European champions Spain are the favourites with the probing flair of Xavi, Villa and Andres Iniesta sure to ask questions of any defence, but Holland's 100 percent win record in qualifying and at the finals is not to be taken lightly.
Join us for kick-off at 1830 GMT when we'll find out if Dutch courage can repel the Spanish inquisition.