Andres Iniesta struck deep into the second half extra time to give Spain their maiden World Cup title with a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in a drama-filled summit clash here today.
Iniesta scored the winner in the 116th minute after both the sides were locked goal-less in the regulation 90 minutes in an ill-tempered grand finale which saw the ejection of Dutch defender John Heitinga in the 110th minute for his second booking and another 12 yellow cards being shown.
Spain, who had never gone beyond quarterfinals before this World Cup, today bagged world football's most coveted trophy after 13 appearances since 1934.
New world champions Spain, the eighth such team in history, now join Brazil (five titles), Italy (four), Germany (three), Argentina (two), Uruguay (two), France (one) and England (one).
Fittingly a new world champion was crowned at the first World Cup in Africa which was one of the most successful editions in FIFA history, though the summit clash was short of a classic besides the rough play of the players.When captain Iker Casillas lifted the World Cup trophy from FIFA chief Sepp Blatter at the Soccer City Stadium, reigning European champions Spain had also shed the tag of perennial underachievers in world football.
On the other hand, the Netherlands failed to erase their agony of finishing losing finalists twice in 1974 and 1978 and remained world football's underachievers.
Spain also became the first European country to win the World Cup outside their continent, a feat which could not be achieved by Italy, Germany, England and France.
The 'La Roja', as Spain is known as, now join Brazil and Argentina who have World Cup triumphs outside their continental zone.
It has been fabulous two years for Spain who won the European Championships in 2008 -- their second after 1964 --and has now become world champions. They are the only second side to be the reigning European and world champions at the same time after France -- 1972 European Champions and 1974 World Cup winners.
The first half of the final match was largely a dull contest of midfield domination which no side could do prominently but the second session and the extra time dished out an exhibition of fast-paced and open football with both sides wasting chances galore.