The day that Spain touched the sky

Iker Casillas raises the cup to the sky of Soccer City in Johannesburg. / AFP

Spanish selection

Iniesta's goal at Soccer City in Johannesburg completely changed the history of national football twelve years ago with the conquest of the first World Cup held on African soil

July 11, 2010 is an unforgettable date for Spanish football. The day that Spain, with Vicente del Bosque at the helm, touched the sky at Soccer City, now known as the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. The night in which he managed to reach the Olympus of world football for the first time, and until now only. Everyone remembers where and with whom they were watching that match against the Netherlands that completely changed the history of Spanish sport and which is now twelve years old.

That final, the first World Cup for La Roja and in which an entire country turned completely to fulfill a dream, is still very present a long decade later. If the tenth anniversary could not be celebrated just because of the pandemic, on the twelfth the covid-19 seems to have been left in the background. That kick, more typical of martial arts, by De Jong on Xabi Alonso's chest, which could well have knocked out the Tolosa native, still remains in the retina. Also that magical foot that Casillas took from Robben when everything seemed lost and that could change the script of the game completely.

Iker Casillas deflects Arjen Robben's shot with his foot that could have changed the fate of the final. /

EFE

But, without a doubt, if there is a moment that went down in history, it was that minute 116. It is precisely the moment that has been marked ever since in the memory of football fans, and not so much, of this country, and even ended up to an ice cream Andrés Iniesta's goal, who arrived at the South African event after an ordeal of injuries during the season, and his particular tribute to the late Dani Jarque in the form of a shirt, went down in the history books of Spanish sport. The play that, even twelve years later, is still remembered from start to finish with all kinds of details.

Andrés Iniesta executes the shot with which he scored the most important goal in the history of Spanish football. /

Reuters

«He tries to leave, Navas leaves, let's go Torres stands out. The world against Navas, who has the speed to go there, manages to send the ball to Iniesta's heel. Cesc arrives, Navas appears again, who collapses. The ball arrives for Fernando Torres, he prepares the cross, Iniesta asks for it, the rebound for Cesc, Cesc for Iniesta. There is no offside, let's go Iniesta, goal» narrated Carlos Martínez that night. The narrative that, even today, remains in the memory of thousands of Spaniards.

listen to the silence

That play that the midfielder, today in the ranks of the Japanese Vissel Kobe, has spoken about on more than one occasion, assuring that he heard the silence. Yes, silence as difficult as it may seem. Neither the vuvuzelas, which became so famous at the South African event, nor the din of a final were an obstacle for Iniesta to stop time and become a national hero. The man who scored the most important goal in the history of Spanish football with which La Roja embroidered its star on his chest.

Starting eleven with which Spain started in the final of the World Cup in South Africa. /

Reuters

The victory with which Del Bosque's team, who had the complicated ballot to replace Sabio de Hortaleza in a great competition, broke the statistics. Nobody before had been able to proclaim himself world champion after losing the first game, until the Spanish team that had lost to Switzerland in their debut in South Africa arrived.

The victory that consecrated a generation that had taken Spanish football to the top, after decades in which the team always crashed against the same wall. The title with which Spain avenged great disappointments such as Tassotti's famous elbow to Luis Enrique in the '94 World Cup in the United States or the controversial quarter-final match against South Korea in 2002.

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