- Today marks ten years since the South Africa 2010 Final
- We asked four current Spain stars where they were when Andres Iniesta scored
- Where were Dani Ceballos, Patri Guijarro, Mikel Oyarzabal and Aitana Bonmati?
If you are Spanish and you were around at about 23.00 CET on 11 July 2010, then there is a very good chance you will remember where you were and who you were with at that exact moment in time. You might have been at home, somewhere in the countryside, on the beach or in a bar, but you will surely recall that you were celebrating the Andres Iniesta goal that made La Roja FIFA World Cup™ winners.
The crowning achievement of Spain’s possession-based, tiki-taka brand of football, that triumph made Spain’s players superstars and brought happiness to a nation of millions, firing the dreams of young boys and girls across the land. Ten years on, some of those youngsters have fulfilled their dreams to become the present and the future of Spanish football.
A decade to the day from that tense Final, which saw Iker Casillas twice deny Arjen Robben before Iniesta struck the winner on 116 minutes, FIFA.com spoke to current Spain internationals Dani Ceballos, Patri Guijarro, Mikel Oyarzabal and Aitana Bonmati and asked them to recall where they were when it happened.
- Utrera, Sevilla. 23. Playmaker
- UEFA European Under-19 (2017) and Under-21 (2019) Championship winner
- Nine appearances for Spain | Club: Arsenal
“I was at school in 2010,” said Ceballos. “I loved football and spent every day dreaming of making it as a professional. Back then I was more into playing it than watching it.”
He never missed a Spain match, though: “My parents bought shirts for my two sisters and me. People got really excited about that World Cup.”
He watched the Final with his family in that Roja shirt at a house in the country. “There was an awful moment when the TV signal went,” he said, laughing. “I remember Iniesta’s goal as if it were yesterday. We were all hugging each other and running around. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.”
Ten years later and Ceballos is now sharing a dressing room with some of the members of that World Cup-winning team, among them Sergio Ramos and Jesus Navas.
“Who could have said that to me?," he said. "Football is magical!” He is also dreaming of running out at Qatar 2022: “Playing for Spain in a World Cup would be a dream come true for me.”
- Palma de Mallorca. 22. Midfielder
- UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship winner (2017). FIFA U-17 (2014) and U-20 (2018) Women’s World Cup runner-up
- 29 appearances for Spain. Played at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ | Club: Barcelona
“I was in my first year with Collerense – a fairly small club with a long tradition in Spanish women’s football – playing with the boys, and I watched the Final at my aunt's house with all my family,” said Guijarro. “I watched a lot of football back then and I was following the World Cup, of course.”
She also remembers just how nerve-racking the match was: “When the Netherlands had their chances and failed to take them, especially the one Casillas saved from Robben, I was like, ‘There’s no way we’re not going to win this!’ And when Iniesta scored, with everything he’d been through and the injuries he’d had and coming as late as it did… We celebrated the goal so much and even my mother was crying. It was so exciting.”
Guijarro now knows what it means to play for Spain in the World Cup. “It was a turning point for us and it got us saying, ‘We’re not far away from going and thinking about making the quarter-finals, the semis and even the Final’. And there’s no reason why we can’t. After all, we’ve come on so much in such little time. We made life really hard for USA in France and again at the SheBelieves Cup. We’re close to being among the best and we can achieve something big.”
- Eibar, Basque country. 23. Winger
- UEFA European Under-21 Championship winner (2019)
- Seven appearances for Spain | Club: Real Sociedad
“I was at a football summer camp with four of my friends when the World Cup was on,” recalled Oyarzabal. “There was a big TV in the canteen and there were about 60 of us there after dinner. That’s where we watched the Final. I remember the goal in particular. I remember where I was and the three or four people I was sitting with, who were all friends from the Eibar squad.”
And when the final whistle came it was time to celebrate: “The whole town was out in the streets and we joined the party.”
Oyarzabal was not even thinking about becoming a professional footballer at the time: “At that age you play because you enjoy it and you have fun with your friends. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting it when I turned professional. One day you’re playing in the reserves and then the opportunity comes your way.”
Since making his Liga debut in 2015, the Basque winger has made steady progress at the highest level. By 2019 he was a Spain regular and is now looking ahead to Qatar 2022: “It’s the biggest competition there is and I hope I can be there. I’ll keep on working hard to make it happen.”
- Sant Pere de Ribes, Catalunya. 22. Midfielder
- UEFA European Women’s Under-17 (2015) and Under-19 (2017) Championship winner. FIFA U-17 (2014) and U-20 (2018) Women’s World Cup runner-up
- 21 appearances for Spain. Played at France 2019 | Club: Barcelona
Bonmati was 12 at the time and playing for her local team. Though every bit as competitive as she is today, she had no big plans for the future. “Nobody watched women’s football in 2010, so I just kept moving forward but without any ultimate goal in mind," she said.
She made sure she caught the World Cup though. “I’ve always loved watching matches and I watched the World Cup on my own because I’m an only child and my parents aren’t really into football,” she explained with a laugh. “When the Final was on, my father came into the lounge and started watching. I remember feeling tense all the way through until Mr Andres Iniesta scored.”
Along with Xavi, Iniesta is one of Bonmati’s role models: “They played a type of football that I love to play and they’re small like me. Football makes you feel things and it was a great time for Barça and the national team. It might have had something to do with me getting where I am today because that was the time when I really got into football.”
Having played for her country at France 2019, Bonmati is hungry for more: “It was an incredible experience. I just hope it’s not my last [Women’s World Cup].”