Overall I enjoyed a lot of the world cup, there was some very decent football and some good entertainment all round. However the final was symptomatic of the deep malaise in the modern game and of a tournament tarnished by a lot of diving, cheating and gamesmanship.
The tabloid and general media reaction to the final was poor and far from objective. No doubt Spain have the better bunch of players, however Holland were their match for a lot of the game and were done in the end by some despicable cheating from Spain and some very poor officiating from Webb.
The Dutch were unfairly portrayed as thugs in order to conveniently ignore the routine Spanish diving and feigning of injury. De Jong's tackle in the first half was no worse than Puyol's, as many Spanish players as Dutch players were lucky to stay on the field.
Some of the play acting from Iniesta and Villa in particular was beneath contempt. Iniesta should never have been on the pitch when he scored the winner, he had been guilty of at least four blatant dives and one clear kick out off the ball which ref Webb chose to ignore for no good reason. Heitinga's first booking came from Villa's pathetic theatrics and double pike dive, his second yellow came from Iniesta's fondness of gravity. Webb lost control of the game in the second half and started rewarding the Spanish diving, this was the beginning of the end of the game as a footballing contest.
Spain reminded me of Barcelona, happy to foul at one end but so keen to go to ground when the boot was on the other foot that it reduced the game to a joke. Iniesta may be a great player, but he is also a despicable cheat, routinely and quite deliberately acting in order to get his fellow player sent off. I used to like Spain for the way they play the game, now I can no longer stand to watch the routine cheating that has become so integral to the way in which they play. Spain may have won the World cup but they have lost the respect of many neutrals for the gamesmanship that they exhibited in the final.