The match went into double overtime, but ultimately, Spain scored in minute 116 to triumph over Netherlands 1-0. Despite their disappointment, however, the Dutch have no reason for anything but pride regarding the way that they played. There were many (including Paul the Octopus) who predicted that Spain would emerge the winners, and while they were vindicated in the end, there were nearly two hours of intense football between two equally-matched teams, with numerous moments when the balance was very nearly tipped in favor of the Dutch team. If the Spanish were really that much better and more dominant, they would have scored early and kept the run of the game (as is their usual custom). Snarky post-game commentary indicated that "the Dutch got what they deserved" because they just weren't up to snuff, and it wasn't the "beautiful and artistic game" that viewers expected. Well, the Dutch were just fine, and there was some good footwork.
My pick for MVP of this final game comes out to be a tie between Stekelenburg (Netherlands goalie) and Casillas (Spain goalie). Okay, there is a reason why they are the goalkeepers for the #1 and #2 teams in the world. They are amazing. Stekelenburg was really the backbone of his side, performing save after save and seeming to be a calm presence that reassured his teammates and urged them forward. Casillas seems at times as if he can actually fly--he gets a lot of height in his jumps and seems to hang there, sometimes almost horizontal. In fact, the one consolation I had in seeing the Spanish team receive the cup was watching Casillas (as team captain) kiss it and hold it aloft, weeping. My impressions of him have always been that he is an outstanding athlete and sportsman and a very decent human being: a great ambassador for his sport, as well as his country.
All in all, it was wonderful to kind of join in with the whole world and celebrate something so universal as soccer/football, and I'm not weeping because I'm already looking ahead to the Netherlands' amazing success in future European and World Cup tournaments.