After a generally well-played run-up to the final, Spain and the Netherlands played a listless, dull, uninteresting last match, with the Spanish winning, 1-0, on a goal by Andres Iniesta in the 28th minute of extra time. The game was highlighted (lowlighted?) by a record 14 yellow cards, and the Dutch were down to 10 men when the goal was scored.
Lest you think my analysis is that of a clueless American, ABC's multinational group of analysts described the game as "terrible," "boring" and like "putting lipstick on a pig." In the end, the better team won as the Dutch played more not to lose and seldom went on the attack. They spent more time bitching about calls than trying to score.
At least the game did not come down to the dreaded penalty kicks, which is always an anticlimactic (albeit dramatic) way to end a tournament. And despite the plethora of yellow cards, virtually all were deserved, so no one can claim the refs unduly influenced the event. Congratulations to Spain, a champion for the first time and the first team to ever win it all after losing its opening match.
The breakout star of the World Cup, though, has to be Paul the octopus, the German cephalopod that went 8 for 8 in picking games.