"The dream has come true," said the newspaper El Pais on its website as an exultant Spanish press hailed the country's first ever FIFA World Cup™ triumph. The newspaper declared 11 July as "a historic day for Spanish sport".

"Spain, Spain, Spain!" screamed the daily El Mundo. "This World Cup has crowned one of the best teams of all time."

"Iniesta took us up into heaven," said the sports daily Marca on the midfielder who scored the crucial extra-time goal that gave Spain a 1-0 win over the Netherlands. "We suffered, but it was worth it," it said.

Another sports paper, AS, said "Spain deserved its victory against a Dutch team that never stopped pushing us throughout the match."

'The dream is over'
The Dutch media, meanwhile, reflected online on Sunday night on the "trauma" of the defeat by Spain which it said had plunged the country in "deep mourning".

"Third trauma for Oranje," read the lead story of the popular De Telegraaf daily, recalling the losses against Germany in 1974 and Argentina in 1978 on the only two other occasions the Netherlands contested the FIFA World Cup Final. "The World Cup in South Africa will enter Dutch history as the third football trauma," it said.

Spain's Andres Iniesta "plunged the team and the Netherlands into deep mourning" with his extra-time goal, said the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper. "After a blood-curdling evening in Soccer City, the world title remained just out of reach of the Orange XI," it added. "Spain were too good in the final, even it if only came to fruition in the second half of extra time."

"The dream is over, the Netherlands did not become world champions," said the public broadcaster NOS, next to a photograph of striker Wesley Sneijder seated on the ground with tears in his eyes.