Iniesta grabs glory for Spain

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Football News

Spain were crowned world champions for the first time in their history after Andres Iniesta's late strike handed them a 1-0 win and broke Holland hearts in the World Cup final at Soccer City.

The Barcelona playmaker struck four minutes before the end of extra time when he latched onto a Cesc Fabregas pass and volleyed past Maarten Stekelenburg.

It came after John Heitinga was sent off six minutes earlier for receiving a second yellow card.

Stekelenburg was made to work early as he first dived to his right to keep out Sergio Ramos' header after Xavi's teasing free-kick, before closing down Gerard Pique.

Nigel de Jong was then fortunate referee Howard Webb did not see a high tackle against Xabi Alonso differently as the Manchester City midfielder escaped with just a yellow card after his foot landed on the chest of the Real Madrid man.

Arjen Robben should have put Oranje ahead after 62 minutes when he was sent clean through on goal by Wesley Sneijder, but Iker Casillas somehow managed to deflect the ball wide with his trailing foot.

The one-on-one chance was by far the best opening of the night and it also seemed to ignite Spain, who responded with a fine chance of their own.

Xavi's cross was not properly dealt with by Heitinga but the Everton man recovered to thwart David Villa from point black range.

Robben then almost made something out of nothing when he raced down the middle to steal possession away from Carles Puyol, but was stopped when Casillas came off his line to collect.

The game went into extra time and Heitinga was sent off following a second booking after he pulled back Iniesta just outside the box before the inspirational midfielder had the last laugh by firing his nation to glory.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Arjen Robben
Manchester City
Gerard Pique
Premier League
Xabi Alonso
Nigel De Jong

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