JOHANNESBURG: Spain believe international football is entering a bright new age, powered by the sleek, easy on the eye style which triumphed over Holland`s muscular harassment in the World Cup final.
Vicente Del Bosque`s side added the world title to their European crown thanks to Andres Iniesta`s extra-time winner in a disappointing final which the Spanish deserved to shade.
But they have no desire to become complacent with their achievements.
"We have great players who are coming through and Spanish football is just growing," warned Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas who set up Iniesta`s winner.
Del Bosque, familiar with great expectations from his time with Real Madrid, was also convinced that the beautiful game was still looking good despite a bruising final which saw Holland finish with 10 men.
"It`s a reward for beautiful football," Del Bosque said.
"Spain, the country, deserves this triumph. This goes beyond sport. We have to celebrate and are delighted to be able to offer this victory to all the people of Spain."
Del Bosque backed Fabregas`s prediction that the team would be poised for a repeat at the next World Cup in 2014.
"Our efforts never end. This World Cup draws from what we did at the Euro 2008 tournament. It`s the continuation of a very good legacy."
The Spanish coach side-stepped questions about the tactics deployed by the Dutch, who had centreback Johnny Heitinga sent off and seven other players booked by English referee Howard Webb.
Five yellow cards were handed out to the Spanish.
"I`m here to speak about the beautiful things of football," said del Bosque. "Holland played a good game. Yes it was rough at times but that is part of football."
The Dutch, who have now lost all three World Cup finals in which they have appeared, were furious with former policeman Webb, with Arjen Robben particularly scathing.
Robben was incensed that Carles Puyol escaped punishment when he seemed to impede the Dutch winger as he raced in on Iker Casillas`s goal seven minutes from the end of regulation time.
"We sat there in the dressing room and only talked about some of the refereeing decisions. There were a few things which were hard to take," said the Bayern Munich player.
Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk felt Webb`s handling of the match may have been influenced by criticism the official received in Spain following their group-stage defeat by Switzerland which he also oversaw.
"I don`t think the referee controlled the match at all well," van Marwijk said.
"For our part, when you look at the behaviour of the referee you would almost think this Spain-Switzerland match had an influence on this."
Sunday`s match was the second time an Englishman had taken charge of a World Cup final involving Holland and the Dutch grievances had an echo of what happened when they lost 2-1 to West Germany in 1974.
Jack Taylor was the referee in that match and, while he gave the Dutch a penalty right at the start, he was also seen as having awarded the Germans a debatable soft-kick which allowed them to equalise and go on to win the match.
Meanwhile, Uruguay striker Diego Forlan was surprisingly awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the World Cup.
Atletico Madrid striker Forlan grabbed five goals as his country finished in fourth place.
Germany`s Thomas Mueller was named Young Player of the World Cup and picked up the Golden Boot for the top scorer.
The 20-year-old Bayern Munich forward finished the tournament with five goals, the same number as Forlan, Wesley Sneijder and David Villa.
He was awarded the Golden Boot because he had supplied three assists, which was more than any of his rivals.
Casillas was voted the best goalkeeper while his team capped a fine night by taking home the fair play award.
BDST: 1834hrs, July 12, 2010