BBC Sport world-cup-2010

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Netherlands 0-0 Spain

By Jonathan Stevenson updates every 30 secs
  1. 20 mins Commentary  

    The Dutch are giving the ball away a bit too much at the moment. Spain haven't quite got into their very best rhythm, but it won't be long coming if they keep getting it back so often.

  2. 606  

    Form PanasonicVieira: "Funny enough, this is a typically slow start from the Dutch in this World Cup. But they always seem to come up with something later on. They'll need to step it up though, otherwise they'll get caned."

  3. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Chris Waddle  

    "The Netherlands beat Brazil en route to the final so they have nothing to fear tonight. But they've got no answers so far; Spain are dominating in all areas and the Dutch can't cope with their movement. I want to see the Netherlands working the ball through midfield because at the moment they're flinging it straight from defence to attack - I don't think Van Bommel's had a touch yet - and it's coming straight back at them."

  4. 16 mins YELLOW CARD  

    And now Howard Webb flashes yellow at Carles Puyol for catching Arjen Robben on his ankle. It's got potential to be niggly, this one. Let's hope not.

  5. 14 mins YELLOW CARD  

    OK, who had 14 minutes? Mark van Bommel commits his first foul of the evening (he might not commit any more, fair point), going in late on former Barca colleague Carles Puyol. Robin van Persie is then booked by Howard Webb for a late challenge on Joan Capdevila, his second of the night.

  6. 12 mins Commentary  

    Iker Casillas admitted he was feeling nervous in the build-up, and there are hints some of his team-mates are too as Sergio Ramos nearly throws the ball straight to Dirk Kuyt only for Carles Puyol to intervene. At the other end, Ramos goes past Dirk Kuyt only for John Heitinga to whack away inside his own six-yard box, and a moment later David Villa volleys into the side-netting from an angle on the left.

  7. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Soccer City, Johannesburg:  

    "All Spain so far, playing at a slightly higher tempo than the games I have seen of them previously in South Africa. A few early crunching tackles have provided our very own Howard Webb with the opportunity to stamp his authority on the occasion." 

  8. Contributor BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson  

    "Just a little bit nervy the Netherlands at the moment."

  9. 8 mins Commentary  

    Horrible touch from Sergio Busquets in a very dangerous place for Spain, but Dirk Kuyt's shot from 30 yards bounces safely into the arms of Iker Casillas.

  10. Twitter  

    From xenoflits: "Van Bronckhorst plays his final match of his career, it would be lovely if he could end this as a world champion."

  11. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Chris Waddle  

    "It's the midfield where this match is going to be decided. Van Bommel and De Jong are already getting very tight to Xavi and Iniesta. If the Dutch are going to have any chance they can't let Spain settle on the ball. Spain have made the more confident start and they're already drawing a lot of fouls. But there's a long way to go yet."

  12. 5 mins Commentary  

    That's a proper chance - and a proper save from Maaretn Stekelenburg. Xavi whips a free-kick in from the Spain right and Sergio Ramos bravely gets there first, powering a header goalwards that the big Dutch stopper does well to turn away to his right.

  13. 3 mins Commentary  

    First sniff of an opening for David Villa, but he's correctly adjudged to be half a yard offside from Pedro's almost brilliant pass.

  14. 2 mins Commentary  

    First clumsy tackle of the evening and no, it's not Mark van Bommel. Robin van Persie catches Sergio Busquets, and the Dutch have had a little more of the very early stages.

  15. 19:30 KICK-OFF Netherlands v Spain  

    At Soccer City, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie get us under way. The atmosphere's pretty good.

  16. SMS  

    From Simon: "Cheers for your prediction Stevo. Got money on a 2-1 Spain win, you've just lost me money!"

  17. 19:27 Commentary  

    I just had goosebumps for four minutes. It's shiver down the spine stuff in Johannesburg, and we're moments away from the World Cup final.

  18. 19:23 Commentary  

    Referee Howard Webb of England leads the Netherlands, skippered by Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Spain, captained by Iker Casillas, out on to the pitch at Soccer City. As is the custom in South Africa, Webb picks up the Jabulani ball from the plinth, and the teams line up for the national anthems. Only difference is this time they are standing either side of the Fifa World Cup Trophy.

  19. 19:21 Commentary Spain coach Vicente del Bosque:  

    “I don't think the Netherlands will change its way of playing just because it is up against Spain. I don't believe in any way there will be a change in their script, in what they are thinking of doing. I don't think so. We both have our scripts written and we shouldn't veer from them.”

  20. 19:20 Commentary Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk:  

    “I have been coach for two years and I have often thought I would love to play Spain, who I think have been the best footballing country of the last few years, and it is happening now. It is unbelievable. It is the most important match in my football life and that applies to all the players. It is an extraordinary situation. No Dutch player has ever been a world champion."

  21. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "We haven't seen the best of Van Persie yet but he is a key player for the Dutch. When he plays for Arsenal he gets the ball whenever he asks for it. For the Netherlands that isn't the case because they have other great individuals like Sneijder and Robben - and you can see Van Persie gets very frustrated by that. People say he doesn't care about playing for his country like he does for his club, but that's not the case. The two teams just play in very different ways and he has a big role to play for both."

  22. 19:18 Commentary  

    It's now or never: you call. I'm around on Twitter @Stevo_football; I get texts on 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide); and there's a 606 page too. Oh goodness me, the World Cup final teams are in the tunnel.

  23. 19:15 Commentary  

    Italy 2006 World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro emerges on to the pitch at Soccer City, carrying the Fifa World Cup Trophy in a case. It's an official handover from old champions to new, if you like.

  24. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Soccer City, Johannesburg:  

    "The waiting is almost over. The warm-ups are over and the next time we see them it will be a matter of minutes before the action begins. Tried to keep an eye on Torres. Couldn't really say with any degree of authority that he has been struggling."

  25. 19:11 Commentary  

    Now then, as I gave a World Cup final Stevo predo to a Russian website earlier, I think it's only fair I give the same one to you guys. Here we go:

    Netherlands 1-2 Spain

  26. Contributor BBC Sport's Lee Dixon  

    "I'm trying to build a case for the Netherlands to win the game and it's very difficult. Spain are in such good form and their ability on the ball is unmatched. The Dutch do have match-winners in Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie, though - they'll need all three to turn it on for them to have a chance tonight."

  27. 19:08 Commentary  

    Could you refresh your page, please? I’m Jonathan Stevenson, and I’m the lucky one who gets to present to you our coverage of the Netherlands v Spain, the final of the 19th World Cup.

  28. 19:05 Commentary  

    Welcome back to Johannesburg. Now, can I interest anyone in a new winner of the World Cup? Then don’t even think about going anywhere for the next three hours. Or more.

  29. 19:03 Commentary  

    Right then, we are fast approaching kick-off, so it is time for me to hand you over to Jonathan Stevenson, who is at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. Just a reminder you can watch this game live on BBC One and this website (if you are in the UK). Whether you are a fan of the Dutch or a Spanish supporter, enjoy the game - I will be.

  30. 18:59 Commentary  

    There is some speculation that Fernando Torres is injured and may not be able to play any part tonight. I guess we will find out in the course of the next couple of hours or so, but it is sad that a player of his ability has been short of fitness and/or sharpness for this entire tournament.

  31. Twitter  

    Daily Telegraph's Henry Winter on Twitter: "A forlorn Fernando Torres has just strolled down the tunnel in a tracksuit, and is playing no part in the warm-up, even with the subs."

  32. SMS  

    From Matt in Amsterdam: "Also a sea of Orange on the Leidseplein. They have stopped the trams here. A few brave Spanish fans just waved a flag and were vuvuzelad to death."

  33. Contributor Spanish football expert Guillem Balague on BBC Radio 5 live  

    "It's a strange decision to pick Pedro ahead of Fernando Torres because, for Barca, Pedro is a winger - he doesn't play in the hole like he will tonight. I'm surprised because I thought Torres could do loads of work for David Villa, allowing him space and openings to score. Now as the lone striker, Villa will have to do that work for himself and as we saw against Germany, he is less effective in that role."

  34. 18:54 Commentary  

    With just over 35 minutes to go until kick-off, the players are out on the pitch and warming up. I've got a part to play in this World Cup tonight too, as I'm yet to cast my vote for the 'golden ball' - the award for the outstanding player of the tournament. I've got until the final whistle to decide so I'm going to leave it as late as possible, although I've got a few ideas. Your thoughts, as ever, are welcome.

  35. Twitter  

    From Guiri12: "Pedro to score tonight. He has scored in every tournament he has ever played, except the World Cup."

  36. SMS  

    From Daniel: "I will be watching the final on a big screen in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania knowing that it's possible to keep Spain from scoring. And if the Dutch manage a late goal via Wesley Sneijder, the potential player of the finals, David Villa can well be forgotten. Go, go Netherlands go!"

  37. 18:44 Commentary  

    Mr Gallagher is not the only person who thinks the Dutch face an uphill task this evening. In his tactical analysis of the final, Lee Dixon feels they could actually do with having another couple of holding midfielders sitting in front of their back four - making four in all. How about the Oranje's chances of creating chances themselves? "Basically, every time I look at a possible way that the Dutch might threaten, I look at Spain and think that I cannot really see them allowing them to do that. All I can see is a Spanish win."

  38. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Hansen  

    "It's not a shock that Fernando Torres has been left out by Spain. He has been a shadow of the player we know he is during this World Cup, and Pedro was a real livewire in their semi-final."

  39. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Shearer  

    "Team spirit and organisation has taken the Dutch to this final. Take Wesley Sneijder out of their team and they don't have any other really great players."

  40. 18:35 Commentary  

    Ex-Oasis star Noel Gallagher will be at the final at Soccer City and he has also made his prediction. What's the story then Noel? "The Spanish are the best team in the world. Since the year leading up to the European Championships and subsequently from that they have been amazing." So, what's the, er, masterplan for a Spain victory? "The key part of the pitch is can Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel stop Andres Iniesta and and Xavi doing the business," added Gallagher. "De Jong plays at Man City and he's a stopper. Van Bommel, he's just destruction on legs. But the Spanish players face that a lot in the Champions League. I think it will be won and lost in the midfield."

  41. SMS  

    From Rob: "Chris, sitting on ’Heitinga Hill’ overlooking Museumplein. Orange as far as the eye can see, great atmosphere, Come on the oranje!"

    Heitinga Hill: I like it. Could also be Robben Rise, or Van Persie Peak.

  42. Commentary Netherlands v Spain team news  

    The Netherlands make two changes to the side that started against Uruguay in the semi-finals as Gregory van der Wiel and Nigel de Jong return from suspension to replace Khalid Boulahrouz and Demy De Zeeuw. Spain, meanwhile, are unchanged from their last four victory over Germany, so Pedro is preferred to Fernando Torres and David Villa occupies the lone striker role.

  43. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Soccer City Stadium  

    "So, a cracking closing ceremony including Shakira and some excellent elephants. Then we see the great man Nelson Mandela. This game of football has got a fair old bit of work to do if it isn't to be something of an anti-climax."

  44. 18:25 Commentary  

    Incredible scenes back in Amsterdam, where officials have urged fans to stay out of the Dutch capital, where 100,000 people have gathered on Museumplein (Museum Square) to watch a giant screen showing the game. "We urge people not to come, for public safety reasons but also simply because they won't be able to see anything of the match," municipal spokesman Bas Bruijn said.

  45. Commentary Netherlands v Spain team line-ups  

    Netherlands: 1-Maarten Stekelenburg; 2-Gregory van der Wiel, 3-John Heitinga, 4-Joris Mathijsen, 5-Giovanni van Bronckhorst; 7-Dirk Kuyt, 6-Mark van Bommel, 10-Wesley Sneijder, 8-Nigel de Jong, 11-Arjen Robben; 9-Robin van Persie.

    Spain: 1-Iker Casillas; 15-Sergio Ramos, 3-Gerard Pique, 5-Carles Puyol, 11-Joan Capdevila; 14-Xabi Alonso, 8-Xavi, 6-Andres Iniesta, 16-Sergio Busquets; 18-Pedro, 7-David Villa.

    Referee: Howard Webb (England)
     

  46. 18:19 Commentary  

    It doesn't appear that Nelson Mandela will address the crowd at Soccer City Stadium, but it is fantastic that he is just there.

  47. 18:18 Commentary  

    BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Fernando Torres has been left out of Spain's starting line-up, with Pedro getting the nod ahead of him just as in the semi-final win over Germany. Full line-ups to follow very shortly.

  48. 18:16 Commentary  

    Here comes Nelson Mandela.

  49. 18:15 Commentary  

    Right, that's the end of the closing ceremony, which was pretty amazing actually. Are they all that good? I hope you enjoyed it, if you could watch it. The even better news is that we are about 75 minutes away from kick-off of the World Cup final.

  50. SMS  

    From Rich, English by birth, South African for the evening: "Have been living in Jo’burg since the beginning of the year, and the atmosphere has been building for the last six months. Anyone still in doubt that this is the best place in the world has obviously not been here yet. I don’t think I will ever live through a month like this ever again. Being at the game tonight is a real privilege just to be able to enjoy South Africa’s finest moment. And that was before Madiba and Shakira. Oh, and the footy too!!"

  51. 18:08 Commentary  

    Luckily, some 'elephants' have turned up to drink the water and drain the pitch. While that was happening we moved on to the story of the semi-finals, and we are now watching the Gumboot Dance. The action is currently is a bit like the video to Run DMC vs Jason Nevins' 'It's like that'. Comprehendo? No, thought not.

  52. 18:02 Commentary  

    Grammy Award winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo have got the stadium transfixed with a song about rain, while the pitch begins to flood (thankfully, it's another special effect).

  53. Commentary South Africa president Jacob Zuma  

    "When we won the rights to host the World Cup, we knew that working together we would be able to succeed. However, what has happened so far, has exceeded our expectations. That is because of the role played by our people, the South Africans. They are the stars and champions of this tournament." 

  54. 18:00 Commentary  

    We are still covering the group stages I think. The flags of all the participating nations have been revealed on the pitch (like a patchwork quilt) by an army of fans, and then just been squashed into the shape of the African continent. Not sure how they are going to represent Germany crushing England in the second round through the medium of dance and light, but it looks like they are going to give it a go.

  55. SMS  

    David in Richmond: "Hi Chris, I think the fact Shakira kicked things off persuaded the great man Nelson Mandela to attend later! Looking forward to the final even more than Shakira's appearance, both teams deserve to be there. 2-1 to the Netherlands, Torres to score consolation goal."

  56. 17:53 Commentary  

    They promised unique special effects in this ceremony and they weren't kidding. Right now, the pitch is now a giant newspaper - which is ripped open to reveal action from the early matches (probably not much from France v Uruguay made the cut).

  57. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at Soccer City Stadium  

    "I have just heard an emotional appeal over the tannoy for fans inside the ground not to blow their vuvuzelas during the closing ceremony. First the anthems, now this. The vuvuzela is under threat."

  58. 17:50 Commentary  

    Here she is, Shakira, and Freshlyground of course, singing 'Waka Waka'. Someone in my office is blowing a vuvuzela in tribute.

  59. 17:47 Commentary  

    We're currently paying tribute to the other stadiums that have hosted matches at this World Cup, thanks to a natty bit of special FX that projected pictures of them on to the canvas covering the pitch. I'll be honest with you, this looks pretty awesome.

  60. 17:44 Commentary  

    Just as with the opening ceremony, the stadium has had a fly-by from the South African version of the Red Arrows. I couldn't see them (it's dark and the TV camera was pointing in the wrong direction) but I certainly heard them.

  61. 17:42 Commentary  

    Here we go. The stadium has been plunged into darkness. Either the closing ceremony is about to start, or someone forgot to pay the electricity bill.

  62. SMS  

    From Andy in Amsterdam: "Two hours before kick-off and the city is going wild, who know whats going to happen if they defeat the Spanish tonight. I always thought I would never witness anything like Liverpool city centre after Istanbul. I have no doubt, should they win, this will top it! Hup Holland Hup!"

  63. 17:40 Commentary  

    The closing ceremony will, er, open any second now. Looks like most of the crowd have got there in time to see it too. I guess Shakira has that effect on everyone?

  64. 17:38 Commentary  

    OK, we know who the octopus thinks will win (Spain). But what about that other renowned foreseer of footballing facts of the future, World Cup Motty? "The rapier thrusts of Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben could be decisive but they have got to contain the subtle passing skills of the Spanish midfield - they keep the ball so well," says Motty. "Holland have got to break up that possession football and try to strike at the other end as quickly as they can. I think it will be mighty close, I think it will go to extra-time and just feel Spain with their possession football, might have the edge. I still believe Fernando Torres could be the unknown factor in this final, he hasn't played a full game yet but you never know, he might come on as a substitute and score the winning goals."

  65. 606  

    From GOONER-EN-SEVILLA: "So the final is almost upon us. I still feel that we have not seen the best from either team yet. Lets hope we do tonight (from both)!"

  66. 17:30 Commentary  

    Shakira, who has picked Spain as likely winners tonight, will be performing the hit song 'Waka Waka' with Timmy Mallett. Ok, maybe she will just be singing it on her own. There is plenty more going on in the ceremony too, though, which promises to "pay tribute to the unique and colourful spirit, and warmth, of the African continent and it's people."

  67. SMS  

    From John, Irishman living in South Africa: "Since watching Argentina vs Holland on TV in 1978, one of my life’s great ambitions has been to go to a World Cup Final. Sitting in the stand at Soccer City as I write this. Atmosphere outside was just brilliant. Inside is like no stadium I’ve ever seen before. So proud of what South Africa has achieved this past month. Could be a few tears shed tonight!"

  68. 17:22 Commentary  

    If the fact that the final is tonight isn't enough of a clue for us all that the 19th World Cup is almost over, there is a closing ceremony shortly before it too. Now, I'll be honest, I've watched the last six World Cups and I cannot remember a single moment of the closing ceremonies from any of them, but Shakira is singing at this one - so I promise you I will be giving it my full attention. At the moment, there is a huge canvas covering the pitch, some of it painted in a similar pattern to the stadium itself, but nothing is going on - expect that to change in an hour-and-a-half or so.

  69. 17:19 Commentary  

    I'm about 780 miles south-west of Johannesburg, where the final will take place in 94,700-capacity Soccer City Stadium, but don't you go thinking football fever has waned in this part of South Africa since the last match took place here on Tuesday (the Netherlands' 3-2 win over Uruguay in their semi-final). There were still hundreds of fans (Spanish and Dutch) on the Waterfront when I wandered down there earlier today, and the locals have all adopted their own favourites since Bafana Bafana crashed out earlier in the tournament. Who has got the most support? Well, put it this way, there are still an awful lot of people who are dressed or painted in orange.

  70. SMS  

    From Paul in France: "Hi Chris. Just came down with chicken pox today. Aparently not good in adults but I’m not letting it dim my World Cup final fever! Come on the Dutch! 3-2 AET."

  71. Commentary Wigan's Spanish manager Roberto Martinez on BBC Radio 5 live:  

    "In the past, Spain were always technically and tactically very capable but they went to pieces mentally on the pitch at the major tournaments. The reason they have been so successful recently is that through their club teams, and specifically Barcelona, they have developed a winning mentality and arrogance to go with it."

  72. 17:05 Commentary  

    Clarence Seedorf reached a World Cup semi-final with the Netherlands in 1998, and he knows a thing or two (or four) about winning the Champions League too, so he is clearly no stranger to the big stage. Like Atte (below), I spoke to the AC Milan midfielder this week to find out who he is backing. Er, it's the Dutch, as it happens. "I do not think many people - myself included - really expected them to get this far but I am very proud of what they have achieved," Seedorf told me "To beat the European champions this weekend they must stick to the game plan that has brought them success in South Africa which is not focusing too much on playing beautiful football, just about winning games and getting the job done."

  73. SMS  

    From Atte: "Atmosphere here inside Soccer City stadium is great, so hats off to the organisers. Bumped into Clarence Seedorf yesteday in town and have to say the man is a class act. Anyways, still have to go for Spain winning with the almost forgotten man Torres scoring the winner!"

  74. 16:59 Commentary  

    More than 700m people watched the last World Cup final, and I'm expecting roughly the same amount to get in touch with me over the next few hours as we build up to this one. You don't have to be Paul the psychic octopus to know the score here either - text me on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide), I'm on http://www.bbc.co.uk/chrisbevan_bbc or you can always get involved on 606.

  75. 16:55 Commentary  

    If you give this page a manual refresh then Jonathan Stevenson will be consigned to World Cup history - which is the best place for him, don't you think? All done? Good, we will proceed. I hope you are all ready for this too because, one way or another, the next few hours are going to be very special.

  76. 16:50 Commentary  

    Hello there, yes I'm Chris Bevan, and I am indeed still in Cape Town - for another 24 hours or so anyway. So, how has Africa's first World Cup been for you? Yes, I know it's far from over yet - and let's hope Spain and the Netherlands can end the tournament with a bang tonight - but in six hours time we will definitely know who the new world champions are. Excited? Yes, me too.

  77. 16:45 Commentary  

    I think it's time to hand over to Chris Bevan in Cape Town. Hey, you enjoy yourselves, won't you? Happy World Cup final day, may the best team triumph and may football be the biggest winner of them all.

  78. 606  

    From hawick: "I'm excited already. These two sides have the attacking firepower (and defensive frailties, the Dutch in central defence, the Spanish in goal) to make this a vintage final. Have they the bottle to go for it, though?"

  79. 16:39 Commentary  

    There has been a lot of talk about the Netherlands midfield enforcer Mark van Bommel this week and his crucial role in trying to stop Spain playing. BBC blogger Paul Fletcher believes “how effectively he performs on Sunday will directly impact on Spain's much-feted passing game.”

  80. 16:36 Commentary  

    Let us not forget that the Netherlands v Spain is the first World Cup final without Argentina, Brazil, Italy or West Germany. Whoever wins tonight will become the eighth winners after Brazil (5), Italy (4), (West) Germany (3), Argentina (2), Uruguay (2), England (1) and France (1). As Europe are guaranteed to win, Uefa will go 10-9 up over the Conmebol nations in World Cup victories.

  81. SMS  

    From Tom in Scarborough: "I think the game tonight is going to be a tricky one to predict, like the entirety of the World Cup has been really. Two teams who we all know can attack and, as they've shown over the last few weeks, can defend equally as well. Sneijder and Villa have been in fantastic form and if they keep it up, we're in for a spectacle. With everything in mind, 1-1 after the 90 and David Villa to pop up with a late extra-time winner I reckon. One thing's for sure, I'm looking forward to getting home from work to watch this game."

  82. 16:29 Commentary Spain's Sergio Busquets:  

    “[On Spain's Dutch influence] I can talk to you about Louis van Gaal and Johan Cruyff, who brought important players through from the youth system at Barcelona. Frank Rijkaard also pushed the 4-3-3 philosophy which is important for Barca and has also helped the national team.”

  83. 16:25 Commentary Netherlands' Dirk Kuyt:  

    "Dutch football has always been very good. In every tournament we have shown there is quality. In this tournament we have shown we have more than quality. We also have belief. We believe we can beat every opponent. We have the patience to do it."

  84. 16:21 Commentary Spain's Euro 2008-winning coach Luis Aragones:  

    "We decided to make holding on to the ball our virtue - to defend with the ball, to attack with the ball, everything centered on maintaining possession with everything stemming out of the midfield. Whoever owns the midfield, owns the game. Physically and psychologically, Spain are ready."

  85. Twitter  

    From pjmsteele: "The final kicks off in Australia at 4am. Do I try and get a nap in and risk missing it or battle through? Decisions!"

    We've spent years together, you lot and I. Do I really, really need to answer that?

  86. 16:15 Commentary  

    Spain have scored only seven goals at the World Cup, you might like to know, with only David Villa, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol notching. The fewest goals netted by any World Cup-winning team is 11, by England in 1966 and Brazil in 1994. The Netherlands have so far banged in 12.

  87. 16:11 Commentary  

    BBC Sport presenter and World Cup legend Gary Lineker, who played for Barcelona in the 1980s, reckons Spain "play the most attacking, adventurous and stylish football." The 1986 Golden Shoe winner is full of praise for the Netherlands too, but adds: "I have tipped Spain to triumph all along, just as I did two years ago. I am definitely going to stick with them now."

  88. Contributor BBC Sport's James Pearce  

    On Twitter: "Just walked fast right to top of Soccer City to broadcast so if I'm out of breath on BBC News Channel in few mins you'll know why."

  89. Contributor BBC Sport's Honest Frank:  

    On Twitter: "Few predicted Ned v Esp World Cup final. Just one of 58 pundits in our BBC poll did. Take a bow, Xavier Rivoire."

  90. 16:01 Commentary Dutch winger Arjen Robben:  

    “I would much prefer to win a very ugly game than lose a beautiful one. The point is, we are in a World Cup final. From now on how you actually play no longer matters. We will defend from the front - no-one here feels they are too special to get their hands dirty."

  91. 15:57 Commentary Spain midfielder Xavi:  

    "We don't want to become another clockwork orange, we want to be the champions. We want to go down in history by lifting this trophy. It would be hugely just for football, good for this sport and, what's more, this generation of players deserves it."

  92. 15:53 Commentary  

    Soccer City is open for business, by the way, so if you're one of the lucky ones who have got a golden ticket, feel free to go and sample the pre-match atmosphere. I mean we've only got a little over three-and-a-half hours left until kick-off.

  93. 606  

    From eirebilly: "The atmosphere here in Holland is absolutely amazing. It's a sea of orange and the Vuvuzelas are seriously loud. There is a very good feeling here that the Dutch footballers will be welcomed home with the World Cup in their hands."

  94. 15:48 Commentary  

    Nelson Mandela update: The icon will greet fans at Soccer City at the World Cup closing ceremony  on Sunday but is likely to return home to watch the game on television, his grandson told the AFP news agency.

  95. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher  

    On Twitter: "Spain are playing in blue today - but if they win expect them to change to their trusty red to pick up their medals."

  96. 15:45 Commentary  

    The Netherlands stand on the brink of a feat accomplished only once before, by the brilliant Brazilians of 1970 - to win every single qualifying game and every match at the tournament too. This is a team that has now won 10 games in a row and is unbeaten in 25, both Dutch records. Their 14 competitive wins in a row is a new European record too.

  97. Contributor BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson  

    "I think Spain might start with Fernando Torres this evening instead of Pedro, somehow. What they do not want is a big gap in front of Joan Capdevila, leaving him exposed against Arjen Robben."

  98. Contributor BBC Sport's Clarence Seedorf  

    "The whole country is celebrating. The Netherlands weren't one of the favourites before the tournament, but it's nice to see a bit of an outsider there. It's strange to say because the Dutch like to have to ball, but they don't need to have it all the time tonight. The key battle might be Arjen Robben against Joan Capdevila."

  99. SMS  

    TK from Kennington SE11: "Dundee Utd, Blackpool - Tangerines win finals this year. And Wesley Sneijder wins everything he plays in. Oranje it is!"

  100. 15:34 Commentary  

    Don’t be shy, I want to know your player of the tournament. Golden Ball winners of yore include Diego Armando Maradona, Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima and Zinedine Zidane - and one from David Villa, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lionel Messi, Asamoah Gyan and Diego Forlan will follow in their footsteps today.

  101. 15:29 Commentary Coach Guus Hiddink:  

    "The Dutch have become a little like the Germans of yesteryear: realism has replaced beautiful football. Of course, it is not always pretty to the eye, and I would like more time spent playing nice football, but what (the coach Bert) van Marwijk and his players have succeeded in doing is extraordinary."

  102. 15:25 Commentary  

    Breaking news: Nelson Mandela's grandson indicates the 91-year-old wants to go to the World Cup final to greet fans.

  103. 606  

    From Jinadine: "Sky Sports Spanish journalist Guillem Balague said it best. After the 2006 World Cup, Spain decide to keep possession of the ball & haven't given it away since. The Spaniards' gameplan in a simplistic way is this: Possession, possession, create a chance, Villa scores. So far, so good."

  104. 15:19 Commentary 1974 World Cup final refereeing legend Jack Taylor:  

    “I believe Howard is the best referee this country has ever produced. It's a huge honour and this is a great reflection of English officiating, it says that we're respected. He's a great guy, an excellent referee and it's just rewards for all his efforts.”

  105. 15:15 Commentary English referee Howard Webb:  

    “We are delighted to have been selected for the game, it is a wonderful honour and a privilege. It is the ultimate honour for a referee. We will be proud to be able to show the ability and quality of match officials in England when we take to the field.”

  106. 15:11 Commentary  

    Remember, there will be English involvement in the final this evening in the shape of referee Howard Webb and his assistants Darren Cann and Michael Mullarkey. The 38-year-old former police sergeant Webb has already taken charge of Spain 0-1 Switzerland, Slovakia 3-2 Italy and Brazil 3-0 Chile. He’s the first English ref to officiate the World Cup final since Jack Taylor in 1974.

  107. Twitter  

    From anil1589: "Baggio, Ronaldo, Kahn and Zidane. Who will be the next victim of the World Cup final curse? I am going with Villa."

  108. 15:00 Commentary  

    Hold the phone, I've got my three-and-a-lot-year-old nephew's predo. Nathan reckons Spain will win 1-0 tonight, with Andres Iniesta bagging the winning goal. Thanks to his dad for squeezing that out of him as they tear it up at Sundown Adventureland (other fun times for kids are available).

  109. 14:54 Commentary  

    Right then folks, now the British GP has been won by an Australian, can I have your full attention? I need your involvement - it is World Cup final day after all. Get the texts in to 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide), get tweeting me @Stevo_football and pop along to 606.

  110. Contributor BBC Sport's Howard Nurse:  

    On Twitter: "The clock is ticking to the 2010 World Cup final. Let this put you in the mood, tonight's opening on BBC1/HD at 1830 BST."

  111. SMS  

    Mohammed in Zambia: "I put a $2000 bet on Holland to win the World Cup a month ago and now octopus says Spain are going to win. Oh the agony."

  112. 14:43 Commentary Netherlands skipper Giovanni van Bronckhorst:  

    “It is our tournament. I have sometimes had the feeling that we cannot lose. We have not always played very well, but we have scored at pivotal moments. We have so often gone so close to a title that it would be nice to finish with a smile one day.”

  113. 14:39 Commentary Spain's Andres Iniesta:  

    “This is a historic event, a unique opportunity for us all. It makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up just thinking about it. We have all dreamed of this moment. But we have to finish the dream. We cannot celebrate anything yet. Before us is the challenge of winning a World Cup. We are cautious because we know that we still have the last step, and that last step is the most difficult and the most beautiful."

  114. 14:35 Commentary  

    My World Cup final memories are a bit sketchy until 12 years ago. In 1986 I was too young to watch all of it, in 1990 I was at my brother's school play and in 1994 I think I watched it half asleep like everyone else. In 1998 I was glued to the telly with my dad as the BBC tried to discover if Brazil's Ronaldo was even playing or not. I wonder whether we'll get a big pre-match story this evening. Anyway, your memories please.

  115. 606  

    From BobbyMooresTackle: "I have a feeling Holland will win this one. Van Persie is due a good game and I can see him grabbing an early goal. I also think Robben will cause an ageing Capdevila some problems down the right-hand side."

  116. 14:24 Commentary  

    Frankly, our friends at Infostrada Sports make every day a better day, and this won't be the exception. Here's some early chat from the stat kings: "The only other World Cup final to take place on 11 July was 28 years ago when Italy beat West Germany 3-1 in Madrid. Forty-four years ago today, the 1966 World Cup opened with a goalless draw between England and Uruguay. It was the first of four successive clean sheets kept by England who won their only World Cup 19 days later.

  117. 14:20 Commentary  

    The world is waiting to find out whether the great Nelson Mandela will attend the final this evening. The 91-year-old, who shares a birthday with yours truly, has been put under "extreme pressure" by Fifa to appear, according to his grandson Mandla Mandela.

  118. Twitter  

    From injoburg: "As a Dutch resident of Joburg I'm double happy today. What's your impression of Joburg been? Would you advise others to go?"

    I definitely want to come back, not seen as much as I'd have liked because of the football. But grown quite fond of it to be honest. People should defo come to SA.

  119. 14:11 Commentary  

    Did you know that the Netherlands and Spain have never previously before met in a European Championship or a World Cup? Bizarre, isn't it? They've met nine times overall with four wins apiece, and the Dutch triumphed 1-0 at their last rendez-vous in a friendly on 27 March 2002 thanks to Frank de Boer's goal.

  120. 14:05 Commentary  

    I can hear Vuvuzelas outside, I think I'm really going to miss those controversial trumpets you know. The main Fifa control room at the International Broadcast Centre in Joburg has about a million screens - it's quite a sight - and almost all of them are showing views from Soccer City right now. I got dizzy just peering in from outside.

  121. Contributor BBC Sport's James Pearce  

    On Twitter: "Soccer City full of Dutch fans. Where are the Spanish? Get down here because you're outnumbered at the moment :)"

  122. 13:57 Commentary  

    It’s fair to say that most media outlets throw the kitchen sink at the World Cup final, and I’d like to think we’re no different. But apart from the obvious analytical/preview stuff, there are lots of articles/videos etc with a difference - from the final episode of Special 1 TV, to South Africa president Jacob Zuma talking about how the World Cup has “united” his country, to the top 10 goals of the tournament. Oh, and Brazil 2014 have unveiled their new logo too, which is utterly brilliant.

  123. 13:51 Commentary  

    I cannot believe it's a month ago that I rocked up at Soccer City, watched Siphiwe Tshabalala smash the ball into the top corner and watched a nation go absolutely mental. A month. The area around the stadium at 1000 BST this morning was humming already, with a few hundred fans getting in the mood and a few hundred police taking their last orders too.

  124. SMS  

    Dickens, Kenya: "Can somebody tell me why Barcelona are hell bent to get Fabregas with all the midfield talent they have? Is this not greed? Sad that the World Cup has come to an end. Enjoyed your chat chaps, good work."

  125. 13:43 Commentary  

    “Stevo, stop your wittering on and tell us what Paul the psychic octopus has predicted for this evening.” Hearing you, loud and clear. Having correctly forecast all of Germany’s results so far in the tournament, the footballing foreseer (used it before I know, but I was pretty happy with it) now reckons Spain will beat Netherlands in the final. But wait, the plot thickens. A parakeet called Mani in Singapore is giving Predo Paul a run for his money after correctly identifying all four semi-finalists. Mani has gone for the Netherlands - it’s a straight shootout.

  126. 13:37 Commentary Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk:  

    "Scoring goals is unimportant now. This is a new match, a special match. We have lots of players who can score a goal and so do Spain. We have got to believe in ourselves and not be afraid. We are convinced we can win."

  127. 13:31 Commentary Spain coach Vicente del Bosque:  

    "There are players from all over Spain here in the squad, we are united and I hope the same feeling of unity occurs back in Spain. I think sport does many good things and I hope football could lead to better relations in our country."

  128. 13:27 Commentary  

    Uruguay striker Diego Forlan on Twitter: "La mesa del mundial, nacho, la tota, juan, diego, andres y yo. Nos hemos divertido mucho."

  129. 13:24 Commentary  

    True to my word about constant reminders, here's how you get involved on World Cup final day: you tweet me @Stevo_football (what a day to crash through the 10,000 barrier this would be), you text me on 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide), and you join up and join in on 606.

  130. Twitter  

    From e_mcveigh: "Bronze medal match was fantastic viewing. Germany were beautiful to watch, and Forlan's final free-kick made my heart skip."

  131. 13:17 Commentary  

    Anyway, there’s a very sketchy plan for this particular Sunday 11 July, but as long as we all appreciate that flexibility is king, it’ll run like a dream. Effectively, myself in Johannesburg and Chris Bevan in Cape Town will guide you through proceedings, with the closing ceremony (sniff) getting under way shortly after 1730 BST and the World Cup final kicking off at 1930 BST. Sound OK?

  132. 13:13 Commentary Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger:  

    "There is a bit of a tear in my eye thinking of the semi-final we lost, but there is a smile in the other one as we showed both heart and courage against Uruguay. If we keep improving like this, sooner or later the trophy will be ours."

  133. 606  

    From Farslayer: "On 11th July 1302, Flemish (Dutch) cities, against all the odds and all predictions defeated the mighty French Army in the Battle of Golden Spurs. 708 years later, against all odds and against octopus predictions, they face the mighty Spanish football team. Can Xavi and Iniesta win where the French army failed (without killing anyone this time, thank you)?"

  134. 13:06 Commentary  

    I love the start to this Reuters piece, so I'm going to share it with you: "Hordes of orange-clad Dutch fans and red-bedecked Spaniards were battling it out in Johannesburg to see who could sing the loudest, drink the most and dress the silliest ahead of Sunday's World Cup final."

  135. 13:03 Commentary  

    News just in from Berlin: Germany's president says he will award coach Joachim Loew the country's Federal Cross of Merit for taking them to third place at the World Cup. President Christian Wulff said in a televised press conference on Sunday that the players will be decorated with the Silver Laurel.

  136. SMS  

    From Tom, Pete and Russ: "On way to Soccer City. Transport chaos at airport. Found a nice match official who blagged us on to a coach and told us to pretend to be Dutch Fifa delegates! Anyone know any Dutch?"

  137. 12:55 Commentary  

    By the way, I hope you managed to catch some of last night's bronze medal match. It turned into a cracker between Uruguay and Germany, with Joachim Loew's side sneaking a five-goal thriller. It's also made the race for the Golden Shoe more interesting, didn't it Thomas Mueller?

  138. 12:51 Commentary Football legend Johan Cruyff:  

    "Spain is now the great favourite. Del Bosque's team has grown in strength and finds itself in the final at the top of its game. In the semi, Germany played football which would have been enough to beat any team, but not Spain. Spain, a replica of Barca, is the best publicity for football. Who am I supporting? I am Dutch but I support the football that Spain is playing."

  139. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher  

    On Twitter: "A windy day at Soccer City - which means plenty of dusty is blowing across the stadium. Still looks amazing though."

  140. Twitter  

    From koosio: "Laughed at all the pre-World Cup reports about African witch doctors. Now wearing same shirt for seventh match and cursing an octopus."

  141. 12:39 Commentary  

    News reaches us from the great and good at Fifa that they expect the global television audience for tonight to exceed the 700 million who watched Italy beat France on penalties four years ago. Interestingly, the United States has reported a 50% increase in overall figures compared to 2006.

  142. 606  

    From camerlion: "Got back from the World Cup two weeks ago today. Had an absolutely fantastic time. The atmosphere will no doubt be electric and hope the game itself is a classic. South Africa has done a fantastic job hosting the world and showing that the continent can, if given the chance."

    I agree wholeheartedly.

  143. 12:31 Commentary  

    PS Hey, can you please put 'FOOTBALL' in front of any texts, because I've just been told there's another significant sporting event happening today in the UK. Ah, the UK. Has it changed much in the last five weeks?

  144. 12:26 Commentary  

    I’ll try not to get too overwhelmed by it all, but you might have to rein me in a little from time to time. Please, please, please get in touch today, because this is a special day for all of us. I’ll keep reminding you, but here’s how you take part on World Cup final day:
    By tweeting me @Stevo_football;
    By texting me on 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide);
    By signing up and signing in on the 606 debate of truth.

  145. Contributor BBC Sport's James Pearce  

    On Twitter: "This is great. South Africans begin to celebrate end of first African World Cup outside Soccer City."

  146. 12:18 Commentary  

    I’m Jonathan Stevenson, I’m in Johannesburg right next to the venue for tonight’s showpiece occasion, and I’m sure you won’t mind me telling you that this is probably the most significant day of my (working) life thus far. It’s certainly a lot more fun than how I spent my day two months ago today, anyway.

  147. 12:12 Commentary  

    I know, I’ve had a lifetime to write that opening comment. But whatever I tried just sounded - how can I put this? - not grand enough. Anyway, you don’t need me to explain the enormity of this particular live text. It’s the World Cup final, the Netherlands versus Spain for the biggest prize in sport.

  148. 12:05 Commentary  

    Welcome to the greatest single sporting occasion on planet earth.

Venue: Soccer City, Johannesburg

Date: Sunday, 11 July 2010

Kick-off: 1930 BST

Coverage: Live on BBC1 and BBC Radio 5 live | Highlights on BBC red button | Full repeat on BBC3 (0020 BST). Plus watch live, listen live, watch in-game highlights (UK only) and follow live text commentary and on this website

TEAM NEWS

Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk is expected to recall Gregory van der Wiel at right back and defensive midfielder Nigel de Jong after both missed the semi-final win over Uruguay through suspension.

Playmaker Wesley Sneijder and goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg are both fit after shrugging off minor problems.

Demy de Zeeuw did not break his jaw after receiving a kick in the face against Uruguay as was first feared, but his teeth were damaged and it is unclear if he will play any role.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has to decide whether or not to recall Fernando Torres to the starting line-up, or stick with Barcelona forward Pedro. Cesc Fabregas is thought to have overcome a training-ground injury to his right leg, but played no part in the semi-final win over Germany.

MATCH PREVIEW

The first World Cup in Africa will produce a new winner when the two greatest footballing nations never to have won the game's biggest prize meet at Soccer City on Sunday. Will the Spanish finally find El Dorado, or is the future Oranje?

Spain's previous best finish at the World Cup was fourth place in 1950, but football's great underachievers now have the opportunity to win their second major title in as many years to confirm their status as the greatest current team in international football. Vicente del Bosque's side have won 50 of their last 54 games playing a mesmeric passing game, demoralising and eventually exhausting their opponents with one-touch possession football.

The Netherlands reached the 1974 and 1978 finals playing their own brand of the beautiful game, but while Total Football may have been consigned to history, Bert van Marwijk's class of 2010 have discovered a winning formula just as effective. The Dutch are on a 25-match unbeaten streak and are hoping to emulate the Brazilian side of 1970 as the only team to have a 100% record in both qualifying and the tournament itself.

For Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Klass-Jan Huntelaar and Rafael van der Vaart, Sunday's final provides the perfect occasion to remind Spain of their talents. The first three were deemed surplus to requirements at Real Madrid, while the latter's future there is in doubt. In a further subplot, Sneijder will go head-to-head with David Villa for the golden shoe, with both players on five goals.

Spain are at their 13th World Cup, the Netherlands their ninth, but remarkably they have never played each other in a major championship. Their biggest clash was their first when they met in Antwerp for the 1920 Olympic silver medal. On Sunday, for one of football's 'nearly men', the prize will finally be gold.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

- Spain and the Netherlands have never met at the World Cup or European Championship before.

- In over 90 years of competition, they have met just nine times: they have won four encounters apiece, and drawn once.

- This will be the first World Cup final that does not involve one of Brazil, Argentina, Italy or (West) Germany.

- Their most recent meeting was a 1-0 friendly win for the Dutch in Rotterdam in 2002.

Netherlands

- The Netherlands are playing in their third World Cup final. They lost the 1974 and 1978 finals, to hosts West Germany and Argentina respectively.

- The Dutch are bidding to become only the second team to qualify for the World Cup with a 100% record and win every match at the tournament itself (matching Brazil in 1970).

- The Netherlands have won six World Cup matches at a single tournament for the first time. This beats their previous best of five in 1974, when they lost in the final.

- Van Marwijk's side are on a 25-match unbeaten streak, a record for the Dutch. Their last defeat was in September 2008 (a 2-1 loss to Australia in Eindhoven).

- They have scored 12 goals in South Africa - only Germany have scored more (13).

- Wesley Sneijder has scored 7 goals in his last 8 internationals. He was credited with Holland's first goal against Brazil, despite Felipe Melo appearing to get the last touch.

Spain

- Spain have lost only two of their last 54 games (to USA and Switzerland). Defeat to the Swiss was a bad omen - no side has ever won the World Cup after losing their opening game.

- Italy (1994), Argentina (1990) and West Germany (1982) all reached the final despite beginning their campaign with a loss. Argentina (1978) were the last team to win the tournament despite losing a game in the group stage.

- This is the fourth time the reigning European champions have reached a World Cup final. The only side to have lifted Fifa's trophy, West Germany, beat the Dutch in the 1974 final.

- The Germans failed to double up against Italy in 1982, while the Azzurri lost to Brazil in 1970 two years after winning Euro '68. France also held both titles concurrently, though they were crowned world champions first (in 1998).

- The Spanish are through to their first ever World Cup final. They did reach the final four in 1950 under a different format, when the remaining teams played out a group stage. The Spanish finished bottom, behind winners Uruguay plus Brazil and Sweden.

- David Villa is one goal away from equalling Raul's record of 44 goals for Spain. He has already equalled the Spanish record for most goals at a single World Cup (five), set by Emilio Butragueno in 1986.

- Spain have completed 3,387 passes at the World Cup, more than any other side. The Netherlands have managed 2,434. Prior to the third-place play-off, Spain had the tournament's top four passers: Xavi (464 completed passes), Busquets (420), Alonso (399) and Pique (378).

Referee: Howard Webb (England)

Assistants: Darren Cann and Michael Mullarkey (both England)

Fourth: Yuichi Nishimura (Japan)

Netherlands Netherlands Flag 0-0 Spain Flag Spain LIVE

  

Spain

 

Substitutes:

Substitutes:

  • Venue: Soccer City
  • Referee: Howard Webb

Updates automatically during the match

Netherlands     Spain
  • Possession 39%
    61%
  • Attempts on target 2
    1
  • Attempts off target 0
    2
  • Corners 1
    1
  • Fouls 5
    1

Projected table based on current scores

Group A

Group A teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Uruguay 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 7
Mexico 3 1 1 1 3 2 1 4
South Africa 3 1 1 1 3 5 -2 4
France 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1

Group B

Group B teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Argentina 3 3 0 0 7 1 6 9
South Korea 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4
Greece 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
Nigeria 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1

Group C

Group C teams P W D L F A GD PTS
USA 3 1 2 0 4 3 1 5
England 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 5
Slovenia 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
Algeria 3 0 1 2 0 2 -2 1

Group D

Group D teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Germany 3 2 0 1 5 1 4 6
Ghana 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
Australia 3 1 1 1 3 6 -3 4
Serbia 3 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3

Group E

Group E teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Netherlands 3 3 0 0 5 1 4 9
Japan 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Denmark 3 1 0 2 3 6 -3 3
Cameroon 3 0 0 3 2 5 -3 0

Group F

Group F teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Paraguay 3 1 2 0 3 1 2 5
Slovakia 3 1 1 1 4 5 -1 4
New Zealand 3 0 3 0 2 2 0 3
Italy 3 0 2 1 4 5 -1 2

Group G

Group G teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Brazil 3 2 1 0 5 2 3 7
Portugal 3 1 2 0 7 0 7 5
Ivory Coast 3 1 1 1 4 3 1 4
North Korea 3 0 0 3 1 12 -11 0

Group H

Group H teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Spain 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Chile 3 2 0 1 3 2 1 6
Switzerland 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 4
Honduras 3 0 1 2 0 3 -3 1

Sunday's matches

Get involved

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