Spain: The Champions
A Day When Football Pitch Turned Into Wrestling Arena:
The action on the field can at best be described as a cagey affair, with none of the teams willing to break the shackles to display a free flowing rhythmic football. Unnecessary rough challenges, play acting and high flying tempers disrupted the expectation of an exciting finale and the referee Howard Webb had to dish out 13 yellow cards – 8 to Netherlands and 5 to Spain, in a futile bid to curb the rugby like tackles. TheHardTackle recommends direct entry for van Bommel, de Jong and Ramos in WWE Summer Slam.
Winner Of The Day:
The African continent and it’s passionate followers of the beautiful game are the ultimate winners here. The successful completion of the show is a tight slap on the face of those cynics who had doubted their ability to organize such a high profile event. Billions of football fans all over the world would appreciate the enthusiasm and passion shown by a country of jubilant diversity – competently capable of staging the biggest extravaganza of world football with tranquility. Hats off to the African spirit – cohesive, festive, capable and proud!
Whiner Of The Day:
The Oranje brigade once again proved that they are poor losers when it comes to accepting the defeat gracefully. The ugly verbal altercation and shameful antics with the match officials after the goal and the final whistle blemished the sanity of the event. Hard luck boys but move on; have the guts to accept the fact that you are beaten by the better team of the night.
Player Of The Day:
Andres Iniesta takes the honors. Not only he scored the all important memorable winner, but also produced great impact on the match with his excellent positional sense and incisive passing. An outright inimitable performance – Kudos, the little dynamite!
Goal Of The Day:
Being the solitary goal of the match, the obvious selection is Iniesta’s 116th minute winner. A nice build up play by Cesc Fabregas saw the ball being received by Iniesta on the right edge of the Dutch box. He took a first touch to set up for the volley and unleashed a right-footer in Maartin Stekelenberg’s far post to score the most memorable goal of his playing career.
Save Of The Day:
Dutch custodian Maartin Stekelenberg produced a stunner of a save in the seventh minute of the first half of extra time to deny Cesc Fabregas the moment of glory. In a one-on-one situation with the Arsenal talisman, Stekelenberg came out of his line in an attempt to cut down the angle and showed excellent reflexes to outstretch his left foot to ward off Fabregas’ brilliant effort.
Defying Moment Of The Day:
The match was more often than not evenly balanced until the 109th minute, when Dutch defender John Heitinga was given the marching order, after receiving his second yellow of the night. With a player disadvantage, Netherland’s capability to continue disrupting Spain’s possession and silk touch passing disappeared in the thin air and seven minutes later Andres Iniesta scored the decisive winner.
Though it’s debatable, but to some extent it will not be unfair to say that the result of the match was greatly influenced by Heitinga’s sending off. No doubt Heitinga’s hand was on Iniesta’s shoulder and he was the last defender ahead of Stekelenberg’s goal – but that contact was only for a very brief period and definitely not when Iniesta decided to go down. THT recommends the lead role for the Barcelona man alongside Jim Carrey in Tom Shadyac’s next comedy venture!
Kung-Fu Moment Of The Day:
Xabi Alonso possibly got an everlasting aide memoire of the World Cup 2010 Finale when he was on the receiving end of a lethal karate kick, by Netherlands’ Nigel de Jong, right at the chest during the first half of the match. De Jong managed to escape only with a yellow card for this serious offence, but we at TheHardTackle offer him a free knowledge sharing session with Jet Li.
Andres Iniesta’s Tribute to Dani Jarque:
The Barcelona man celebrated his late winner by removing his jersey to reveal a handwritten message on his inner vest, which read “Dani Jarque siempre con nostros” (Dani Jarque will always be with us) – in reference to the young Esanyol central defender, Daniel Jarque González, who died of coronary arrest in 2009 during a practice session. Wonderful gesture boy – way to go.
Wonderful gesture: hats off