Vicente Del Bosque's Spain are the new world champions. It must be extra special for them since they have won it for the first time in their football history. The best team won the World Cup and deservedly so, but only after a grueling overtime final.
Holland did its very best to stifle the dominant Spanish midfield using legal and illegal tactics, earning a record seven yellow cards and one red, with defender Heitinga being expelled in the seventh minute of the second overtime. Spain was no lily flower either, earning five yellow cards.
Spain lauded, Dutch castigated for 'brutal' World Cup final
No shots were spared in this football war. Holland could have won the World Cup had Arjen Robben scored on a Sneijder-fed breakaway, but Iker Casillas turned hero by deflecting the shot with his foot.
It was up to Iniesta to win the Cup for Spain in the 117th minute of the game on a brilliant pass by Fabregas and he didn't fail, beating the excellent Stekelenburg and sending all of Spain into a frenzy.
The European champions showed that when you have the best defence of the tournament led by Puyol, Ramos, and Pique, the best midfield of the tournament with Xavi, Alonso, Busquets and Iniesta, a goalie in top form like Casillas and the top scorer in Villa, it is only natural you can win the World Cup.
Holland showed that with a tactically sound team, indefatigable fighters in Kuyt, Van Bommel and De Jong and two phenomenal talents like Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben, you could win 14 straight games, only to lose in an overtime final.
Van Marwijk can only be proud of his players who eliminated Brazil and Uruguay, only to lose to the better organized European champions.
They will be greeted as heroes upon their return to the Netherlands and deservedly so. Germany showed that with the best offence of the tournament, 15 goals and the youngest team, they deserve third place.
This African World Cup was full of surprises. Who would have predicted that the Forlan-led Uruguay would end up in the semifinals and favourites Argentina and Brazil would be eliminated so early.
Few would have suggested that the youngest team in the tournament, Germany, would become one of the favourites, reaching the third place with their talented stars Mueller, Ozil, Schweinsteiger, Klose and Podolski.
Who would have thought that Ghana could be a penalty kick away from reaching the semi-finals?
What initially seemed a South American domination of the quarter-finals, became a confirmation of European solidity as Spain, Holland,and Germany finished one, two and three.
Stars that were supposed to shine such as Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and even Lionel Messi disappeared as their teams were eliminated. Youngsters like Mueller, Ozil, Elia, Ayew and Honda took centre stage, lighting up this World Cup with their goals and talents.
FIFA World Cup
They will be the next stars to watch in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, as we say goodbye to elders Luis Fabiano, Lucio, Maicon, Cannavaro, Pirlo, Klose, Henry, Gerrard and Lampard.
We will remember this World Cup for the blare of the vuvuzelas, the strange Jabulani ball, the colours, rhythm and winter weather of South Africa. Above all we will cherish the heart-warming and magnificent smile of 91-year-old Nelson Mandela before the final.
I personally will remember Stekelenburg's save on Kaka’s shot and what could have been for my Brazilian team. Congratulations to the magnificent Spanish double champions for their well-deserved victory. We will be waiting for them in Brazil in 2014.
Professional Management Group