Accessibility links

Breaking News

It's Netherlands vs. Spain in World Cup Final

Spain will play the Netherlands in Sunday's World Cup football final in South Africa. Spain advanced to the title game for the first time on Wednesday by beating Germany, 1-0.

Spain dominated possession in the match at Moses Mabhida Stadium, in South Africa's coastal city of Durban. Spanish midfielders controlled the action from the opening whistle with quick and precise passes. But they had trouble finishing, until central defender Carles Puyol broke a scoreless deadlock in the 73rd minute. Puyol, who plays for Barcelona, leaped high to head in a goal from Xavi Hernandez's corner kick.

The game was a rematch of the 2008 European Championship final that Spain won by the same score.

Spain's head coach, Vicente del Bosque, said he thought his team played a great game -- from defense through to attack. Spanish star David Villa, who is tied with Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands for the tournament scoring lead with five goals each, said his team should have scored more goals, but he said, "the one from Puyol has put us in the final."

In Sunday's final, Spain will play a Dutch squad that also has never won football's premier event. The Netherlands lost the 1974 title game to Germany, and the 1978 final to Argentina.

Dutch police say more than 60,000 fans poured into downtown Amsterdam to watch the team's 3-2 victory over Uruguay in the semifinals on a giant TV screen. Afterward, some fans expressed their jubilation about the Netherlands being back in a World Cup final after a 32-year break.

WOMAN: "They started pretty slow, but in the last two games they were amazing."
WOMAN: "We played bad football, but we won every time. So that's great! That's what matters right?"
MAN: "They deserve it after so many years. So it's our turn. It's our turn!"
MAN: "It was a great game, absolutely fantastic! It was difficult for them, especially in the second half. But in the end, a bit of luck was very good.
WOMAN: "You hear the people behind me? [CHEERING] That is how we actually feel; it's just so great to be in the finals. It can't be any better. World Champions Holland!"

A crowd of almost 61,000 people attended the Spain-Germany semifinal. Among the dignitaries on hand was Queen Sofia of Spain, who sat between Sepp Blatter, the president of world football's governing body FIFA, and South African President Jacob Zuma.

FIFA says World Cup attendance in South Africa has passed three million. Africa's first World Cup is expected to place third in attendance behind the 1994 World Cup in the United States and the 2006 tournament in Germany. The 1994 World Cup set an attendance record with 3.59 million fans.