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Hosts and winners united by the Cup

It seemed a little rich when Wesley Sneijder accused English referee Howard Webb of having robbed the Netherlands. Hadn't his team robbed the World Cup of a fitting end by playing rough?

sports Updated: Jul 12, 2010 23:40 IST
Dhiman Sarkar

It seemed a little rich when Wesley Sneijder accused English referee Howard Webb of having robbed the Netherlands. Hadn't his team robbed the World Cup of a fitting end by playing rough?

In that sense it is fitting that Spain added the World Cup to their European title of 2008. They brought to the final a desire to play ball, but such is their reputation that opponents want to do anything but. Not even the Dutch, with their 25 game unbeaten run. “The dressing room is delighted, ecstatic. But Spain, the country, deserves this triumph, this World Cup. This goes beyond sport. We have to celebrate. All the people have been behind us in Spain, and we're delighted to reward them with this victory,” said Spain coach Vicente del Bosque after the 1-0 victory that came in extra-time. Soon after he was flung in the air by ecstatic players. The team united Spain, with the national flag being waved in Basque and Catalan areas, amid claims for autonomy. “I think sport does many good things and I hope football could lead to better relations in our country,” Del Bosque said.

Appropriately, the first stop for a team full of Barcelona stars is Madrid. Hosting the World Cup has united South Africa; winning it could unify Spain.