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Spain predict beauty will save the world

Johannesburg: Spain believe international
football is entering a bright new age, powered by the sleek,
easy on the eye style which triumphed over Holland`s muscular
harassment in the World Cup final.

Vicente Del Bosque`s side added the world title to their
European crown thanks to Andres Iniesta`s extra-time winner in
a disappointing final which the Spanish deserved to shade.

But they have no desire to become complacent with their
achievements.

"We have great players who are coming through and Spanish
football is just growing," warned Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas
who set up Iniesta`s winner.

Del Bosque, familiar with great expectations from his
time with Real Madrid, was also convinced that the beautiful
game was still looking good despite a bruising final which saw
Holland finish with 10 men.

"It`s a reward for beautiful football," Del Bosque said.

"Spain, the country, deserves this triumph. This goes
beyond sport. We have to celebrate and are delighted to be
able to offer this victory to all the people of Spain."

Del Bosque backed Fabregas`s prediction that the team
would be poised for a repeat at the next World Cup in 2014.

"Our efforts never end. This World Cup draws from what we
did at the Euro 2008 tournament. It`s the continuation of a
very good legacy."

The Spanish coach side-stepped questions about the
tactics deployed by the Dutch, who had centreback Johnny
Heitinga sent off and seven other players booked by English
referee Howard Webb.

Five yellow cards were handed out to the Spanish.

"I`m here to speak about the beautiful things of
football," said del Bosque. "Holland played a good game. Yes
it was rough at times but that is part of football."

The Dutch, who have now lost all three World Cup finals
in which they have appeared, were furious with former
policeman Webb, with Arjen Robben particularly scathing.

Robben was incensed that Carles Puyol escaped punishment
when he seemed to impede the Dutch winger as he raced in on
Iker Casillas`s goal seven minutes from the end of regulation
time.

"We sat there in the dressing room and only talked about
some of the refereeing decisions. There were a few things
which were hard to take," said the Bayern Munich player.
Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk felt Webb`s handling of the
match may have been influenced by criticism the official
received in Spain following their group-stage defeat by
Switzerland which he also oversaw.

"I don`t think the referee controlled the match at all
well," van Marwijk said.

"For our part, when you look at the behaviour of the
referee you would almost think this Spain-Switzerland match
had an influence on this."

Yesterday`s match was the second time an Englishman had
taken charge of a World Cup final involving Holland and the
Dutch grievances had an echo of what happened when they lost
2-1 to West Germany in 1974.

Jack Taylor was the referee in that match and, while he
gave the Dutch a penalty right at the start, he was also seen
as having awarded the Germans a debatable soft-kick which
allowed them to equalise and go on to win the match.

Meanwhile, Uruguay striker Diego Forlan was surprisingly
awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the World Cup.

Atletico Madrid striker Forlan grabbed five goals as his
country finished in fourth place.

Germany`s Thomas Mueller was named Young Player of the
World Cup and picked up the Golden Boot for the top scorer.

The 20-year-old Bayern Munich forward finished the
tournament with five goals, the same number as Forlan, Wesley
Sneijder and David Villa.

He was awarded the Golden Boot because he had supplied
three assists, which was more than any of his rivals.

Casillas was voted the best goalkeeper while his team
capped a fine night by taking home the fair play award.

Bureau Report

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