Iniesta overjoyed after 'incredible' World Cup win

Spain's hero Andres Iniesta hailed "an incredible feeling" after his goal secured his country the World Cup for the first time in their history.

The Barcelona midfielder scored in the 26th minute of extra time against Holland after being set up by Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas and Spain went on to triumph 1-0.

The match saw 14 yellow cards handed out by English referee Howard Webb, two of which led to a red for Holland defender John Heitinga - easily setting a record for a final - as Holland tried to 'win ugly'.

Iniesta said: "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.

"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," Iniesta said. "To win the World Cup - there are no words to describe it.

After he scored, 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's triumph had been predicted by Paul, the psychic German octopus, and Iniesta added: "As for the octopus, what can I say? We won. The octopus will be very popular in Spain."

Iniesta's press conference for the man of the match was interrupted by team-mates Fabregas, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol, who burst into the room shouting: "Andres you're best!"

Iniesta, who had just been asked about Spain defending the title in 2014, replied: "I think that's a good answer to the question. Now's the time to enjoy this World Cup. We'll see what happens four years down the line."

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque refused to criticise Holland for their rugged approach.

He said: "First of all I should congratulate our opponents. They made it very difficult for us to play comfortably.

"It's been a very intense match, and congratulations to them."

Fabregas had only been introduced from the bench three minutes from the end of normal time, and Del Bosque saluted his impact on the match.

"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."

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