Spain coach gives SA two thumbs up

2010-07-12 08:19

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque praised South Africa for the smooth organisation of the 2010 World Cup after his side secured a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in the final at Soccer City.

“This has been an extraordinary success for this continent,” Del Bosque said of the first global football showpiece to be played in Africa.

“We are very proud that we won this tournament. Football is going forward and this has been great for the beautiful game.” Spain won the Euro title in 2008, lifting a major trophy for the first time in 44 years, and Del Bosque said he had built on that performance in preparing for the World Cup, having taken over the reigns of the national team from Luis Aragones following that success. He refused, however, to single out any of his players for special praise.

“We continued from where we were in 2008 because there was a very good legacy after winning that tournament,” Del Bosque said.

“We did bring in some new young players but we simply followed the lines of what they did back then.

“All the players in this team are world champions and I think we deserved the reward we received today.”

Apart from lifting the title for the first time, Spain also made history by becoming the first European team to win the tournament outside the old continent.

The Netherlands, however, lost the World Cup final for the third time, having missed out in Germany in 1974 and Argentina in 1978, both times going down to the hosts.

Bert van Marwijk, the Netherlands coach, said it was “sad to lose the final this way” after a physical game that saw 14 yellow cards, including two for Dutch defender John Heitinga who was sent off in the 109th minute.

Spain’s Andres Iniesta scored the winning goal seven minutes after Heitinga left the field.

Van Marwijk said he was disappointed with British referee Howard Webb’s performance but believed their opponents would have won regardless of the decisions made by the official on the field.

“I don’t think the referee controlled the match well,” Van Marwijk said, “but it must be clear that the best team won.” Van Marwijk said it was frustrating to come so close, only to lose out narrowly after few people had given them a chance at the start of the tournament.

“Nobody expected that we would play in the final, but we came very close to having a penalty shootout” he said.

“It’s the World Cup final, so we’re very disappointed because we really wanted to win it, and we could have won it, but I think we did really well to get this far.”

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