spaaaaaaaaain.jpgSouth Africa witnessed the birth of soccer’s new world order after Spain finally freed itself from the shackles of more than a half century of under achievement to win the World Cup with a 1-0 win over the Netherlands in extra time on Sunday.

 

Going into the World Cup, the Spaniards were considered the best team in world football by most critics after winning 49 times and losing just 2 of their previous 54 matches since November 2006. Sunday’s victory just made it official, allowing Spain to add soccer’s greatest title to their impressive curriculum vitae.

 

Still, questions had been raised about their ability to win football’s ultimate prize ahead of the tournament, what with the likes of Brazil, Germany, and Argentina lying in ambush.

 

The Spaniards had qualified for 12 previous World Cup finals but managed to advance beyond the quarter-final stage only once, in 1950.

 

Spain’s only international success prior to winning the 2008 European Championship was in 1964 when the Iberian powerhouse won the European Championship on home soil.

 

But nobody can doubt their credentials now, not after they recovered from a shocking 1-0 loss to Switzerland in their opening match of the group stage to sweep all before them en route to the final.

 
The triumph saw Spain becoming  the only 8th World Cup winner in the 80 year history of the competition.

 

 The win steered them to the sacred halls of soccer’s elite to take their place alongside Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy and Uruguay.

Spain’s world cup success also saw them making history on several fronts. La Furia Roja became the first European nation to win the World Cup on a foreign continent.

 

Spain now also holds the proud record of being European and world champions at the same time, following in the footsteps of France who won the World Cup in 1998 before being crowned European champions in 2000.

 

Spain also became the first nation to land football’s most coveted prize after losing their first match of the campaign.

While admiration and praise should rightly be heaped upon Spain for their historic win, at the same time, one can’t help but feel a certain measure of sympathy for the Netherlands.

 

Like their Spanish counterparts, the Dutch have been burdened by the unbearable weight of past failures, losing back to back World Cup finals in 1974 against Germany and the 1978 defeat to Argentina.