The 20th edition of the World Cup in 2014 will be hosted by Brazil, the five-time champions.
The score, if you will, for World Cup winners now stands as: EUROPE 10, SOUTH AMERICA 9
In the end, the 2010 FIFA World Cup was not a particularly great tournament. Some will say it was, some will say it was not. The quality of play was generally poor, with some moments here and there, with only a handful of matches reaching good quality. Yes, there were some spectacular goals, some superb individual plays, but just not enough to say this was a World Cup tournament to remember. There was good play in some matches from nations like Germany, Uruguay, Ghana, USA, Argentina.
Algeria and Honduras were the only countries not to score a goal in their three group matches. North Korea, Switzerland and France managed just one goal in their groups. France was an embarassment alltogether in this World Cup, 2006 champion Italy was not good at all, and neither was England -- countries that came in the tournament with some high expectations and went home disappointed and disappointing their fans.
Spain is the World Cup winner for the first time in their history. The Spaniards are world champions with the fewest goals scored in the history of the World Cup -- eight (8). Any way you look at it, that is not impressive at all. That's eight goals in seven matches folks. You soccer fans be the judge of that statistic. Sure, one can say, well, they played strong defense, and they did. But what happened to the other side of the field, the offense, where was all the power scoring the Spaniard players possess; passing is all fine and dandy, but soccer is played for the beauty of goals.
The Netherlands becomes the first country in World Cup history to lose a final match for the third time in as many appearances. It's unfortunate, but it is just that.
It was a yellow cards filled-match, a gallore of yellow cards. Nine (9) yellow cards for the Dutch, including the second for Heitinga which led to his red card. Five yellow cards for Spain.
Spain was the better team today, not by much, but enough to say that they won the World Cup in South Africa. In the overall picture many will say Spain has been the better team in the world for the past couple of years or so, and therefore they were the better team in this tournament and deserved to win. Opinions will vary, soccer fans from different parts of the world will see it in different ways.
FINAL -- SPAIN 1, NETHERLANDS 0 -- The 2008 European Champion also is now a World Champion. Spain wins the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It's not pretty, definitely not pretty by any means, not very attractive soccer, but in the end the result is what counts. That's what the history books will say.
122' -- Torres down on the field with a hamstring injury or some sort of a leg injury.
121' -- Xavi gets a yellow card for kicking the ball away. That's called wasting time.
120' -- Two minutes of added time.
118' -- Mathijsen's protests to the referee, and a few other Dutch players too, might have been because a corner kick was not issued at the other end from Sneijder's free kick, which in turn went the other way for an attack that resulted in the goal for Spain. Fair or not? You fans be the judge on that.
117' -- Mathijsen is booked for protests after the goal. But if it was for offside position, it's a useless complaint. It was not offside, definitely not offside. Iniesta also received a yellow card for taking his shirt off in celebration.
116' -- GOAL! Spain 1, Netherlands 0 -- Spain takes advantage of the extra man and scores after breaking down the Dutch defense. It's Andres Iniesta with a good sided volley from inside to the right of the box. Stekelenburg did get his right hand on the ball, but could not stop it from going in the back of the net to the far side. Fabregas made the pass to Iniesta in the box, and a fine pass it was.
115' -- Free kick for the Dutch from 38 yards out. Wesley Sneijder cracks a good shot that takes a deflection, but no corner kick given. Boy, what happened that time? It was quite clear the ball took a deflection wide.
113' -- With a man down, the Dutch have to resist quite a few more minutes now. Can they do it?
111' -- Gregory van der Wiel gets a yellow card for a foul. The Dutch are now basically just trying to hang on and hope for good things on penalty kicks.
110' -- Xavi takes the free kick, but is rather poorly taken over the bar.
109' -- Johnny Heitinga is red-carded, sent off for pulling down Iniesta, who had a clear path toward the goal. It was a professional foul by Heitinga, but is this perhaps going to cost the Dutch in the end? Free kick for Spain from about 23 yards out, very dangerous now.
Period 2: 106' -- Well, the final 15 minutes of play are underway. Fernando Torres comes in for David Villa. Torres scored the winning goal for Spain in the 2008 European Championship.
End First Period: Spain 0, Netherlands 0 -- Still no goals, but a couple of quality scoring chances.
105' -- Final substitution for the Netherlands. Van Bronckhorst ends his international career for the Dutch. Braafheid takes his place at the back.
104' -- Fabregas with a good run up the middle and he finishes with a fine shot that just misses the target wide.
103' -- This is a test of stamina now, of endurance. One mistake either way could be very costly.
101' -- Jesus Navas on the right side shoots and is deflected into corner by van Bronckhorst again.
100' -- Rafael van der Vaart comes in for Nigel de Jong.
99' -- Iniesta wastes another good chance, taking too long with the ball while advancing in the box. Van Bronckhorst manages a good clearing sliding tackle to the ball.
97' -- Spain continues to have the better part of play, looking for that one goal. From the looks of it, one goal will decide this match if it comes down to that.
95' -- Fabregas escapes one-on-one down the left sided, but his shot is blocked by Stekelenburg. Great save by the goalkeeper with his left foot that time to keep this a scoreless result for now.
94' -- There was no way the referee could have or should have given a penalty kick on that situation. A cheap maneuver by Spain trying to gain a penalty kick like that.
92' -- Xavi kicks Heitinga in the box while trying to hit the ball, Xavi falls down and yet Spain is the one begging for a penalty kick. Heitinga defended cleanly that time. Howard Webb says no and that is the right decision by the referee.
92' -- Netherlands still has two substitutions available. Spain has one left.
Period 1: 91' -- Extra time is underway.
EXTRA TIME: There will be two periods of 15 minutes each. No golden goal. If the score is still tied, then this final also will go to a penalty kicks shootout. Let's hope that will be avoided. It is not the proper way to win a World Cup title. But we shall see. The Dutch also went to exttra time against Argentina in the 1978 World Cup, losing 3-1 then.
FULL TIME: Spain 0, Netherlands 0 -- Only one other World Cup final was scoreless after 90 minutes of play. Brazil-Italy in the 1994 USA edition. That match also was scoreless after extra time and was decided on a penalty kicks shootout. Not the best way to become a world champion.
90' -- Three minutes added to regulation time.
89' -- Van Persie is offside on a pass from Sneijder.
87' -- Cesc Fabregas comes in for Spain. Alonso goes off.
84' -- And Robben now is booked for protests for a foul not being called.
83' -- Robben with a good sprint around a slow Puyol, who actually prevented Robben's run. Puyol definitely got an arm around Robben's body. Casillas did come forth to make a good block.
82' -- Spain is clearly pushing the last few minutes, forcing the issue for a goal before regulation time expires.
81' -- Iniesta with a good run into the box, but Sneijder comes back to help defensively.
80' -- Corner kick for Spain again, but nothing out of it this time.
77' -- Villa finds a little space and gets a corner out of his effort. Then Ramos is served perfectly from the corner kick by Xavi, but Ramos' header from just four yards out is directed over the net. That should've been easily a goal.
76' -- Navas with a high cross from the right wing and Villa's one-time shot goes wide.
74' -- Free kick for Spain from 27 yards, but Villa's shot sails wide and high.
71' -- Dirk Kuyt, the workhorse for the Dutch, is now replaced by No. 17 Elia. Some young fresh legs now for the Oranje, but still a somewhat surprising substitution. Kuyt has been one of the better players for the Dutch in this World Cup.
69' -- Villa with a super scoring chance on a rebound from about 6-7 yards to the left, but Heitinga while down on the ground is able to block the shot. That had goal written all over it, but it wasn't to be yet.
68' -- Still a more physical game than spectacular. Does this final have extra time written on it? Hard to say yet. Still some time to play in regulation.
67' -- Capdevila trips Van Persie from behind and gets a yellow card.
65' -- What a missed quality scoring chance that was for Robben. He really should've done a lot better, like put it in the back of the net.
62' -- Arjen Robben with the best scoring chance of the match so far and Casillas gets lucky to get his right boot on the ball for a corner kick. Robben escaped all alone down the middle off a great pass from the center field, but sort of telegraphed his set up shot from the left sided foot.
60' -- Spain substitution. Pedro is taken out and replaced by Jesus Navas.
59' -- The crowd is getting somewhat impatient, some whistles from the fans for too much fouling and not good football.
58' -- It's back to combat style play, physical type. Dutch already have five players with yellow cards. Spaniards with two players booked. Probably more will come.
56' -- Referee having a talk with Johnny Heitinga who fouled Villa. Heitinga gets a yellow card, but it was issued after the fact. It didn't appear referee Webb saw the infraction to begin with.
54' -- Free kick for Spain from 27 yards out. Xavi bends the ball around the Dutch wall, but also wide of the net. Van Bronckhorst is cautioned for a foul.
54' -- The game is definitely taking shape now. A different approach in these first few minutes of the second half.
52' -- Robben with a cut inside from the right wing position for a shot with his left foot. Casillas covers the ball easily.
50' -- No substitutions by the way for either side at halftime.
49' -- Van Bommel with another rough challenge.
48' -- Corner kick for Spain and Puyol again makes a good run at the near post for a header and Capdevila just misses on the touch after. Puyol scored with a powerful header in the semifinal against Germany.
47' -- Right away the feeling is that this half might open up and get going with some good soccer. But we'll see.
SECOND HALF -- Spain gets the game going again.
HALFTIME: Spain 0, Netherlands 0 -- Not the most entertaining first 45-plus minutes. More cards than shots on goal. Obviously no goals. Not the open game that perhaps was anticipated, not free flowing at all. Perhaps nerves, perhaps part of the strategy, but it's not a quality first half for a final match at the World Cup. Stay tuned for the second half; hopefully things will open up more. It has to be a better second half, it can't get worst than the first half was.
45' -- Two minutes of added time. Dutch have a free kick from long range; on the follow up, Robben has the ball and takes a pretty good shot from the edge dof the box that forces Casillas to dive and concede a corner kick.
42' -- Accidental collision between Sneijder and Busqets. Free kick goes to Spain, though. Alonso goes for the long range shot, but is off target.
40' -- Xavi free kick from 37 yards out into the box is eventually cleared by the Dutch. Van Bommel caused the foul. Van Bommel is really on the borderline asking for a second yellow card. Not very smart.
38' -- At the other end now, Pedro has a shot go wide off target.
37' -- Good passing corner kick, not a cross, by Robben to the edge of the box to Van Bommel, who miss-hits the ball to Mathijsen inside the box on the left, who also does not connect with the ball properly.
34' -- Casillas threw the ball out of play momentarily due to Puyol being slow to get up. But the clearance shot back to return the ball by the Dutch is actually quite on target, on net, forcing Casillas to palm the ball out into a corner kick. What if that would've gone in the net? Talk about a potential controversy there. Van Persie shows sportsmanship and taps the corner kick back to Casillas.
33' -- Long cross in from the Dutch causes goalkeeper Casillas to run into Puyol, who is feeling some pain.
32' -- Things are getting rather physical. Hopefully neither side will lose their tempers and offer quality soccer rather than rough play.
28' -- Add Nigel de Jong to the list of yellow cards for a karate-type kick to the chest of Alonso. That was quite ugly, in fact. De Jong didn't even play the ball and should consider himself lucky to only receive a yellow card, because that was actually a tackle for a red card. Frankly, referee Webb showed restraint in not showing the red card because that's exactly what it was. Alonso surely has the stud marks from De Jong's shoes on his chest to prove the gravity of that kung fu kick. Really ugly stuff on that one.
27' -- The Dutch are applying some good pressure when the Spaniards have the ball, not allowing them the tiki-taki passing the Spaniards like to do. It's a good strategy by the Dutch.
23' -- Ramos also is booked for a poor challenge on Kuyt. The match is getting a little testy now, a little spirited. Referee Webb has to keep things in check. Four yellow cards already.
22' -- Van Bommel also gets a yellow card now after an unecessary tackle from behind on Iniesta.
20' -- The speedy Robben with one of his trademark runs on the right flank; gets a corner kick out of it.
18' -- Sneijder takes the free kick from 38 yards out, a good shot, pretty ambitious, but straight to Casillas.
16' -- Puyol is now booked by referee Webb. Puyol with a challenge from behind on Robben.
15' -- Van Persie with another bad tackle on Capdevila and heis issued a yellow card. Van Persie has to be somewhat cautious now for the rest of the match. Surely he doeds not want to leave his team a man down with another yellow card and subsequently sent off with a red.
14' -- Spain now appears to be taking a bit of the charge. Netherlands still slightly tentative for the time being.
11' -- Sergio Ramos with an individual effort from the right side, he had no support in the middle and elected to take the shot which Heitinga kicked into a corner. That makes two pretty good efforts from Ramos already. He certainly seems ready for this match.
10' -- Neither team has been able to gain control of the ball more than the other to this point.
9' -- David Villa times a good run up the middle, but the pass is too long to reach.
8' -- Kuyt with a soft shot from about 20 yards. No problem for Casillas.
7' -- The vuvuzela noise is picking up big time, some serious rhythm going now.
5' -- Sergio Ramos with a dangerous header exactly from 11 yards out (the penalty kick spot) off a free kick on the right side forces Stekelenburg to make a fine save. That was a pretty good first scoring chance.
3' -- Steady playing at this early stage.
1' -- The Dutch have kicked off. Van Persie with a clumsy challenge, but nothing too ugly.
2:30 ET -- Kickoff. The match is underway. The Dutch are wearing all Oranje jerseys and shorts. Spain's equipment today is all navy blue.
2:25 p.m. ET -- The National Anthems for both countries are now performed. The Netherlands first. Spain next. The crowds roar after the anthems were played. Royalty from both finalist countries are in the luxury boxes.
Former South Africa president Nelson Mandela, 91, is in attendance, as well as numerous other dignitaries from around the world.
The excitement at the stadium is unbelievable. Needless to say, the stadium is filled to capacity. Teams are heading through the tunnel to the field. The action is minutes away. Let's hope it will be a high-quality match.
SPAIN -- 1-Casillas; 3-Pique; 5-Puyol; 6-Iniesta; 7-Villa; 8-Xavi; 11-Capdevilla; 14-Alonso; 15-Ramos; 16-Sergio Busqets; 18-Pedro.
Here are the starting lineups: NETHERLANDS -- 1-Stekelenburg; 2-Van Der Wiel; 3-Heitinga; 4-Mathijsen; 5-Van Bronckhorst; 6-Van Bommel; 7-Kuyt; 8-De Jong; 9-Van Persie; 10-Sneijder; 11-Robben
Today's final is officiated by Howard Webb, assisted by linesmen Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey -- all from England.
The Dutch would also like to avoid becoming the first nation to lose all three finals in which it appeared in. Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia have also lost two finals. Hungary in 1938 and 1954. Czechoslovakia in 1934 and 1962.
But let's go over how both nations made it to the final. Spain -- 0-1 vs. Switzerland as mentioned; 2-0 vs. Honduras; 2-1 vs. Chile; 1-0 vs. Portugal in the first knockout match; 1-0 vs. Paraguay in the quarterfinals; and 1-0 vs. Germany in the semifinal. Netherlands -- 2-0 vs. Denmark; 1-0 vs. Japan; and 2-1 vs. Cameroon to win Group E; 2-1 vs. Slovakia in the knockout stage; 2-1 vs. Brazil in the quarterfinals; and 3-2 vs. Uruguay in the semifinals. And that's the road they took to battle it out for the title.
One other notable information for those of you who pay attention to statistical type material is that no team has won the World Cup when losing its opening match. Spain lost its Group H stage match 1-0 to Switzerland. Also, with just its seven goals scored to this point and whatever they might score in the game, Spain could be a World Cup winner with the fewest goals. All previous winners have scored at least 12 goals.
Sneijder and Villa each have scored five goals and will also be aiming to finish the tournament as the top scorer.
If Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk and Spain coach Vicente dedl Bosque do not aproach the game conservative and come in with an offensive-minded strategy, then this final can turn into a seriously entertaining game and evend possibly a shootout -- but hopefully not a penalty kicks shootout. That is the least quality way to become a World Cup winner.
That's not to undermine the Spaniards, the best and most efficient passing team in the tournament. The European champions cann match the Dutch firepower with the likes of David Villa, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres, although Torres hasn't been at his best due to two knee surgeries earlier this year. Spain also has a more experienced goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Spain's task will not be easy, though. Shutting down creative players like Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Dirk Kuyt and an offensive-minded type team like the Dutch will be rather difficult.
For Spain to become champions, they will need to shut down the Dutch the way they did the Germans in the semifinal. Germany, by the way, finished the tournament with 16 goals -- probably a tourney-high. The Dutch enter the final with 12 goals scored and five allowed. Spain has scored only seven goals and conceded two.
If Holland is able to beat Spain today, it will match Brazil's accomplishment of winning all their qualifying stage and 1970 World Cup tournament games. Not an easy feat to accomplish, folks.
Both nations have rolled into this tournament. The Dutch now have a 25-match streak without a loss and 10 straight wins, including all six games here in South Africa -- the only team to manage that. The Spaniards have lost just two matches since November 2006.
The Netherlands and Spain have never met in a World Cup tournament, but have split nine games in other meetings, going 4-4 with one draw.
Spain makes this final as the 2008 European champion. But that does not automatically means they will also win the World Cup. France won the EURO 2000 and finished last in the group stage two years later in the Japan/South Korea World Cup edition. Germany suffered the same fate in the 1998 France World Cup edition after winning the 1996 EURO. Germany lost in the quarterfinals then. However, Germany also is the exception as it captured the double EURO 1972 and World Cup 1974. So, we'll see how Spain will come out later today.
While for Spain this is its first appearance in the World Cup final, the Dutch have reached this level twice before, both times coming up short -- in 1974 to West Germany (2-1) and in 1978 to Argentina (3-1 after extra time). Both those times the winners were the host country.
This is the eighth all-European final, but the first time the winner will lift the trophy when the tournament was hosted outside of Europe. It also is the second straight World Cup when two European teams battle for the title -- in 2006 Italy defeated France on penalty kicks when the tournament was held in Germany.
While Brazil was among the top favorites to be in the final, and Germany displayed some of the more high-quality play, both were eliminated -- Brazil by the Netherlands (2-1) in the quarterfinals and Germany by Spain (1-0) in the semifinal. Germany won the third-place match 3-2 against Uruguay on Saturday.
Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg is the site of what hopefully should be an exciting final.
This first World Cup tournament held in Africa for the first time also features something new: Spain or the Netherlands will be a first-time champion. Both nations have been somewhat underachievers throughout time when it comes to the World Cup stage.
Good afternoon worldwide soccer fans and welcome to CBSSports.com for online coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain. My name is Mihai Cercel, and I will provide play-by-play, commentary and analysis throughout this match. Please refresh often for the latest updates.