It's sometimes good to look back at the past and remember great moments. Below is the article I wrote after Spain won the World Cup last year. I just re-read it, and still feel exactly the same way. Enjoy!
Some things happen in our lives that get stuck in our memories forever. Most of them are personal, such as your first kiss or getting your first car. But sometimes, very rarely, you get flashes of happiness that get stuck in your brain and, even though time passes, they remain fresh and clear. For fans like us, yesterday was a night to remember.
La Roja made history after an agonising goal by Don Andres Iniesta in what can only be described as a horror movie with a happy ending. It had all the main characters: The brave hero who tries to win (La Roja, or, better said, La BlauRoja), the nasty monster who uses their evil powers (Holland, who had players like Van Bommel or De Jong karate-trained before the match) and even the pretty princess (That'd be Iker's girlfriend, Sara Carbonero). When the game was dying, and the dark, evil penalties seemed to be on the menu, Iniesta appeared and saved the day. Woooohoooo!!!!
The wait leading up to the final was painful. The hours just didn't pass fast enough! I knew Spain had a once-in-a-lifetime squad, with a strong defence, a genius midfield and a killer attack. Listen to this: Cesc Fabregas, Fernando Torres, Victor Valdes, David Silva, Navas and Mata didn't make the starting line-up. Those players would be key to any other national team! For La Roja, it was now or never.
I was also aware that the Oranje had great talent and respected their impressive run leading up to the final, winning their previous 15 games, including World Cup qualifiers and in South Africa. It was obvious that Sneijder and Robben had once again proven Real Madrid wrong, who sold them on the cheap last summer to sign Benzema. How stupid. Plus, the Oranje nation had previous World Cup final experience, having lost in 1974 and 1978.
But still, I was confident La Roja would take the Golden Cup back home.
The game finally came, and it wasn't pretty. Spain tried to control the ball and were faithful to their own style, keeping possession of the ball, trying to find a space for a break. Holland, who disgraced Johan Cruyff's 1974 Total Football yesterday, only had one thing in mind: Kick the Spanish. Try to get someone injured, whatever it takes. Step on their ankles, bury your studs in their chests. As long as we stop their ball flow it'll be fine. The referee won't dare sending anyone off!
And Holland's gameplan was about to work out for them when Robben had two one-on-ones with Casillas, brilliantly saved by the World Cup's Golden Glove. My heart nearly stopped. The final could have been lost there, and it would have been another hurtful defeat for La Roja. But, for once, football was fair to us and the best team won. Xavi came to the rescue and paced the game to perfection, always looking for the free man. Busquets was tremendous, with impeccable passing while stealing important balls in midfield. The star was Don Andres Iniesta. I still don't know how he had the patience to wait for the ball to bounce before his strike. I jumped, I screamed, then cried.
Spain are World Champions. I said: WORLD CHAMPIONS. It hasn't sunk in yet, and probably never will. The people of Spain have waited for this all their lives. From now on, we will have a Golden Star on our Red tops. From now on, we are not under-achievers and whoever says beautiful football doesn't win trophies can watch a replay of Iniesta lifting the cup. From now on, we won't dream about referees sending us home. From now on, we won't have to be envious of other countries' history. For the next 4 years, La Roja are WORLD champions. Enough said.
But it shouldn't stop here: Our players aren't that old yet. Only Puyol is over 30 years old. With players like Pique, Busquets, Pedro, Llorente, Navas plus Bojan, Canales, Azpilicueta and others, we have a chance for a double in Brazil 2014.