Spain hero Andres Iniesta hailed "an incredible feeling" after his extra-time goal secured his country the FIFA World Cup™ for the first time in their history. The Barcelona midfielder scored in the 116th minute against the Netherlands as Vicente del Bosque's side went on to triumph 1-0.
"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," said Iniesta. "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," he added. "To win the World Cup - there are no words to describe it.
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.
After scoring, 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 coach Vicente Del Bosque paid tribute to the Netherlands after the game: "First of all I should congratulate our opponents," he said. "They made it very difficult for us to play comfortably. It's been a very intense match, and congratulations to them."
Del Bosque also saluted the influence of Cesc Fabregas, who was introduced from the bench three minutes from the end of normal time. "Fabregas came on and we began to dominate," he said. "We had greater ball possession and depth in our game. We created chances for Cesc and David Villa which we could have converted, but that's the way football goes."
Del Bosque said the whole of the country deserved to share in the jubilation. He added: "The dressing room is delighted, ecstatic. But Spain, the country, deserves this triumph, this World Cup. This goes beyond sport. We have to celebrate. All the people have been behind us in Spain, and we're delighted to reward them with this victory."