World Cup 2010 - Ratings: Inspirational Iniesta
Eurosport - Sun, 11 Jul 21:00:00 2010
We look at how the players of Netherlands and Spain fared respectively in the World Cup final in Johannesburg.
The Netherlands goalkeeper made a string of fine saves to keep his side in the match and barely put a foot wrong. A save with his feet to deny Cesc Fabregas in the first half of extra-time was his defining moment.
Gregory van der Wiel - 7
The right-back was his pacey, ebullient self down the right, and kept David Villa in check on the whole. Could have provided more going forward but did his job defensively.
John Heitinga - 6
The Dutch utility man made a stunning block to deny Villa with the Spain striker looking to drive the ball home from close range and with Stekelenburg beaten all ends up. However, his evening was spoilt in extra-time as he became the fifth man to be sent off in a World Cup final.
Joris Mathijsen - 6
The defender was sturdy, if unspectacular, and managed to track Andres Iniesta's runs to good effect. Hugely committed and disciplined. Missed a free header in extra-time which could have put his side in front.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst - 7
The Netherlands skipper was booked for a rash challenge, but held his composure to defend stoutly and prevent Iniesta, Villa et al from scoring in normal time.
Mark van Bommel - 6
Van Bommel was hugely effective, if committing a large amount of robust challenges which infuriated the Spain camp. The midfielder was booked early on but patrolled the midfield to good effect.
Nigel de Jong - 6
What mark do you give a man who should have been sent off twice? De Jong was his usual industrious self, and screened the Netherlands back four effectively. Was replaced in the first half of extra-time.
Wesley Sneijder - 7
The midfield maestro produced one incisive, defence-splitting pass which put Arjen Robben clean through on goal, and provided his side with a number of typically precise set-piece deliveries. Was unable to find that something special to inspire his side to victory.
Arjen Robben - 6
The jet-heeled winger got himself in good positions, but lacked a clinical finish when he most needed one. Robben squandered two glorious chances when through on goal with just Iker Casillas to beat.
Dirk Kuyt - 7
Kuyt was as energetic and bright as ever, but did most of his work back in the Netherlands half and was unable to muster much going forward. Defended well when required, and was typically unselfish.
Robin van Persie - 6
The Arsenal striker did not enjoy much service, and was unable to create much himself as he roamed around in the Spain half to no avail. Not his best performance, and completed the entire tournament without a goal.
The midfielder made little impact after coming on in extra time, but did receive the captain's armband at least.
Edson Braafheid - 5
The stand-in left-back was caught napping on a few occasions by Iniesta, and could have done more to track the Spain midfielder's run which led to the goal.
Eljero Elia - 5
The rapid forward made a few pacey runs down the wing for his side, but produced no decent product in the final third to inspire the Dutch after coming on for Kuyt in the second half.
Iker Casillas - 9
The Real Madrid shot-stopper had a blinder, keeping his side on level terms with two fabulous saves to deny Robben with one-on-ones and, bar one misjudgement from a long ball, was inspired. Lifting the trophy capped a sensational evening for the goalkeeper.
Sergio Ramos - 6
Ramos produced numerous enterprising and attacking runs down the right but, in squandering the best chance of the match unmarked in the Netherlands box, the defender missed the opportunity to win it in normal time.
Gerard Pique - 7
Pique was assured and commanding at the back for Spain, with the Barcelona defender beating van Persie to nearly ever header and bringing the ball out of defence coolly.
Carles Puyol - 7
The shaggy-haired defender afforded van Persie et al very little space and marshalled the Spain back line to show good authority. Was perhaps fortunate not to be sent off after tugging Robben's shirt as the last man, but earned his luck.
Joan Capdevila - 6
The full-back offered a fair amount going forward, but was caught napping on a few occasions as Robben was allowed to get in behind him and run through on goal.
Sergio Busquets - 6
Busquets was pretty subdued in the first half and was caught in possession a few times in the second. It was not the Barcelona midfielder's best game.
Xabi Alonso - 6
The Real Madrid midfielder did not have the impact on the game he would have liked and did not manage to find the defence-splitting passes he is renowned for. Was replaced after 87 minutes.
Xavi - 8
The instrumental midfielder was targeted by the Netherlands for a string of robust challenges, and the Barcelona star was forced to work extremely hard for space in the final third. Xavi has had a fantastic tournament and was deservedly on the winning team with his partner Iniesta clinching victory.
Andres Iniesta - 9
The Barcelona midfielder was frustrated in the first half as he was denied space in the final third, but was rewarded for his persistence with a clinical volley to clinch the crucial strike for his side. Iniesta was Spain's hero and the match-winner.
Pedro - 6
Picked in preference to Fernando Torres, the Barcelona forward was relatively subdued and replaced on the hour mark after making very little impact for his side in support of Villa.
David Villa - 6
The five-goal striker was kept quiet by the Netherlands, and cut a frustrated figure as he was replaced by Fernando Torres in extra-time. It was not the forward's defining moment, but he worked tirelessly nonetheless.
Jesus Navas - 7
Navas replaced Pedro on the hour mark and worked incredibly hard down the right for his side. Could have made more of an impact but drove his shot wide when through on goal late in the second half, but was full of running and creativity.
Fernando Torres - 5
Oh dear. The Liverpool striker was given 14 minutes in extra time, and sadly the only memorable moment for him was appearing to pull his hamstring. The final ended with the forward lying flat on his back in agony.
Cesc Fabregas - 7
The Arsenal midfielder provided the crucial assist for Iniesta's winning goal and came very close to finding a clinical strike of his own with Stekelenburg making a fine save with his feet. Fabregas made the impact that was required.