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Page last updated at 09:14 GMT, Monday, 12 July 2010 10:14 UK

BBC pundits on World Cup final

Iker Casillas lifts the World Cup for Spain

Highlights - Netherlands 0-1 Spain

Alan Hansen
Alan Hansen
BBC pundit on Match of the Day

Anyone with the best interests of football at heart would have been overjoyed to see Spain beat the Netherlands to lift the World Cup.

They are an absolute delight to watch and justice was served at Soccer City.

If the Dutch had have triumphed, it would have been bad for the game because there is no place for the way they approached the match.

It's one thing to have a game plan, be organised and get men behind the ball, but the cynical way in which they operated for the first 45 minutes was a total and utter disgrace.

606: DEBATE
Jacob

Howard Webb tried to make the game flow but on this occasion he was left with no choice.

Before the start of the match I wanted Spain to win because I thought it would be great for the tournament, but by the end I was desperate for them to do it.

Even from their first game - a shock 1-0 defeat by Switzerland - they tried to play in the right manner.

They pass the ball better than any other team and their technique, touch and movement is sensational. They are fully deserving of football's biggest prize.

Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer
Former England striker on Match of the Day

Not only were Spain easily the best team on the night, but they were also without question the best team in the entire World Cup.

In Xavi, Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique and Iker Casillas, they have the best players and were well worth their victory.

After losing to Switzerland in the opening round of matches, few would have expected them to be crowned champions at Soccer City on 11 July.

But they got better and better with each passing match and were great on the eye throughout the competition.

Spain's Andres Iniesta celebrates

Iniesta scores dramatic last-gasp winner

What I really like about them is that they trust their ability, they don't panic, they keep on doing what they're good at even if it doesn't bring instant rewards.

No-one else plays like Spain do and, even if they wanted to they couldn't, because Vicente del Bosque's side contains the world's best midfield by some distance. They just pass teams to death; it's a great system and they've got great players to implement that system.

Del Bosque deserves a special mention. It must have been an extremely tough decision to leave Fernando Torres on the bench, but he opted for Pedro in both the semi-final and final, and it proved the correct call.

It would also have been difficult taking over from Luis Aragones, who guided Spain to Euro 2008 glory, but he's managed to go one better by winning the World Cup.

For Del Bosque and his players, this will be the biggest moment of their sporting lives.

Lee Dixon
Lee Dixon
Former England defender on Match of the Day

Right from the start there was only one team who really wanted to win this match and that was Spain. So their victory over the Netherlands was a victory for football.

Thank goodness it didn't go to penalties because the Dutch could well have snatched the title and that would not have been good for the sport.

Bert van Marwijk's men played to a gameplan that was wrong. They had a few breakaways but their mentality was to stop the Spanish playing and we didn't want to see that, we wanted an open game.

On the one hand you can't totally blame them - they've got to go out and play against one of the best teams in the world - but kicking your opponents off the pitch is out of order.

Howard Webb had a hugely difficult game to referee. He got some decisions right and quite a lot wrong. He possibly made a mistake on the winning goal but Spain deserved to win.

Many of the star names under-achieved at this World Cup but, overall, Spain's were top drawer. Although Torres was perhaps carrying an injury, Villa and Xavi were superb, Xabi Alonso played well and, for me, Iniesta was by far and away the tournament's best player.

Mike Ingham
Mike Ingham
BBC chief football correspondent

The good news is that Spain are the champions and worthy champions, but the bad news is the biggest match in the world was soiled and stained and betrayed by the Netherlands.

I know part of football is to stop your opponent, but you must do it legitimately and I don't really see the point of getting to the final if you're going to disrespect it like the Dutch did so crudely. It was a bit like watching a child trying to build a sandcastle and another child then knocking it down.

I think Fifa has a problem because they trumpet this ideal of "my game is fair play" but if you think about this World Cup we had France qualifying through cheating, Uruguay denying Africa's best team [Ghana] through cheating and the Dutch last night with their own slogan - my game is unfair play.

Clarence Seedorf
Clarence Seedorf
Former Netherlands international on Match of the Day

I'm bitterly disappointed for the Netherlands but, based on the 30 minutes of extra time, Spain were the worthy winners.

What disappointed me the most was the manner in which the winning goal was conceded - the Dutch had enough men behind the ball to defend it comfortably.

That would have kept them in contention and, if they had made it to a penalty shoot-out, anything could've happened.

During the 90 minutes I thought the match was quite well balanced and Arjen Robben missed two great opportunities to open the scoring.

But once the Dutch had a man sent off Spain began to dominate and, let's face it, they had plenty of good chances themselves.

While there may have been a foul in the build-up to Iniesta's winner, there are always cases to be argued and I don't think there was any incident that really changed the match.

Chris Waddle
Chris Waddle
Former England winger on BBC Radio 5 live

You associate beautiful football with the Netherlands and that was the first time I have ever seen them play like that.

I don't think too many people will be impressed with the Netherlands.

Webb can't win - if he had sent three players off everyone would have criticised him. He refereed a game where players just wanted to foul.

It might not have been the best final but Spain have been the best side for the last three years and they always tried to play the game in the right way.



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see also
Del Bosque tips Spain to dominate
11 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Dutch coach condemns referee Webb
12 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Forlan collects Golden Ball award
11 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup final photos
11 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010


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