Sure, some of the Dutch tackles wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Bruce Lee epic, and how the red card stayed in Howard Webb’s pocket until the last minutes of extra time is a mystery. Still, there were lots of chances at either end.
Ramos and Robben could easily have put the game beyond doubt, the latter being especially profligate and even refusing to fall over after one tackle, an incident which had seasoned Robben watchers scratching their heads.
With players still flying into full-blooded tackles, plenty of late counter-attacking, two goalkeepers in fine form, and no sign of a breakthrough, the awful prospect of a penalty shoot-out loomed.
Then Iniesta controlled a ball into the box and blasted a right foot shot past the despairing dive of Stekelenburg.
So a game dominated by Spain’s passing game and Dutch attempts to impose themselves on the Spanish midfield ended with a late goal. Cue lots of moaning about how Holland betrayed their traditions – stop it, this isn’t 1974 and nobody suddenly expected this Dutch team to start playing total voetbal.
And let’s be honest, the Spanish weren’t brilliant last night or throughout the tournament; they just have cleverer, more resourceful footballers who know the value of possession and can strike with deadly accuracy when necessary.
The best team won in what will probably go down in the history books as a poor final. Get over it; the World Cup hasn’t seen a genuine edge-of-your-seat classic final since Argentina beat West Germany 3 – 2 in 1986. Now we have four years to wait and see if Brazil 2014 breaks the mould.