July 11, 2010. Johannesburg. Second half of extra-time near minute 118. Direct free kick for Netherlands, shot deflected by the wall and Howard Webb gives goal kick. Casillas executes it, Jesús Navas does a 30 meters run, Iniesta gets the ball, opens to Cesc who returns it to Navas and he sees Torres open and gives him the ball. Torres sees Iniesta making a run inside and tries to pass it to him, fortune thew us a hand and that pass was so bad it’s good as the defence deflects it, but ends in the boots of Cesc who now has a clear pass to Iniesta who is unmarked as the defence is badly positioned after the deflection. Iniesta gets the ball and time is stopped in Spain. One heartbeat, the ball goes in as delirium starts in Spain while Iniesta dedicates the goal to his late friend Dani Jarque, captain of Espanyol that died the year before during preseason.
It was not the first time Spain was in a World Cup with a team with real chances, as in 1934 the generation of Gorostiza, Iraragorri, Lafuente, Lángara, Zamora, Quincoces or Luis Regueiro was one of the favorites, and there was also that 4th place in the 1950 World Cup with Zarra comanding a team that also had Panizo, Gainza, Ramallets, César Rodríguez or Eizaguirre. There’s always the saying that this year is the year of Spain, whether it was the Euro or the World Cup, always waiting for that final triumph. But always coming short of the expectations which was changed by Luis Aragonés, also known as el Sabio de Hortaleza. He decides to end Raúl’s tenure in the national team, a controversial topic who saw him become public enemy for the press and getting pressure from all fronts, even from politicians and have the kids as forwards: el Niño Torres and el Guaje Villa. With them, the 2008 Euro was won, second title after the 1964 Euros in the third appearance in a final (runner-ups in Euro 1984).
After his departure, arrived Vicente Del Bosque, veteran manager known by his spell with Real Madrid, both as player (5 leagues and 4 copas del Rey) as well as manager (2 leagues, 2 Champions League, 1 Intercontinental, 2 supercups and 1 European supercup). While there were initial doubts whether he could continue this success, Spain was heading to the World Cup thinking that this time it was for real, there were real chances of winning.
For a country where football is almost a religion this was big. Euphoria on the streets, spending the night honking through the streets, the party, loosing your voice chanting the goal, Iniesta de mi vida, Campeones... An unbelievable moment that made you forget about daily life. That happiness that made us all friends, unforgettable. I recall how crazy was in my town, with a lot of us reunited with friends at home, while others went to watch the match at the screen that was habilitated by the town hall. Once finished, going to the town hall to celebrated, with the streets jammed by cars all honking, waving the flags, trying to put as high as possible the flag in a monument, walking through the streets seeing all balconies with their flags on display. It didn’t end there as bus were fleeted next day for the ones interested on travelling to Madrid for the welcoming to the team. All the team were seen as heroes, being honored in their home towns, and their teams. Like Capdevila, only World Cup winner of Villarreal. But not only the players, Dani Jarque is also part of the history of our win of the World Cup.