Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Iniesta's joy at Spain's 'incredible' triumph

Iker Casillas of Spain kisses the World Cup trophy as the Spain team celebrate victory following the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final match between Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa
David Villa holds the World Cup trophy after Spain's 1-0 win over Holland in Johannesburg
Supporters of the Spanish team attend a public viewing of the World Cup final football match between Spain and Netherlands at Plaza Colon on July 11, 2010 in Madrid, Spain

Spain's World Cup final hero Andres Iniesta has spoken of "an incredible feeling" after his goal secured his country the trophy for the first time in their history.

The Barcelona midfielder scored in the 26th minute of extra time against Holland after being set up by Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas and Spain went on to triumph 1-0.

The match saw 14 yellow cards handed out by English referee Howard Webb, two of which led to a red for Holland defender John Heitinga - easily setting a record for a final - as Holland tried to 'win ugly'.

Iniesta said: "I can't quite believe this yet. I had the opportunity to score that goal that was so important for my team, and it's incredible.

"I've made a small contribution in a very tough game, a very rough game - there were all sorts of things happening on the pitch.

"Spain deserved to win this World Cup. It's something we have to remember and enjoy, and should feel very proud of everyone in this squad.

"The manner in which it happened, we gave everything," Iniesta said. "To win the World Cup - there are no words to describe it.

After he scored, Iniesta took off his shirt to reveal a T-shirt paying tribute to Daniel Jarque, the Espanyol player who died after a heart attack in August. The T-shirt said "Dani Jarque is always with us" and Iniesta explained: "I wanted to carry Dani Jarque with me and with my other team-mates. We wanted to feel his strength. We wanted to pay tribute to him in the world of football, and this was the best opportunity to do so.

"This is for Dani Jarque, for my family, for all of the people. It is the result of hard work over a long time and some difficult moments."

Spain's triumph had been predicted by Paul, the psychic German octopus, and Iniesta added: "As for the octopus, what can I say? We won. The octopus will be very popular in Spain."

Iniesta's press conference for the man of the match was interrupted by team-mates Fabregas, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol, who burst into the room shouting: "Andres you're best!"

Iniesta, who had just been asked about Spain defending the title in 2014, replied: "I think that's a good answer to the question. Now's the time to enjoy this World Cup. We'll see what happens four years down the line."

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