Fireworks fly as Spain celebrates

MADRID - Tears of joy fell, fireworks exploded in the night sky and voices went hoarse in Spain after ecstatic fans watched their team beat Netherlands 1-0 to win the World Cup final for the first time on Sunday.

Andres Iniesta's goal deep into extra time sparked the celebrations and many of the thousands watching the game at giant outdoor fan zones around the country burst into tears.

"It's well deserved. They are a very close team of players," Julio told Reuters in Madrid as supporters hit the streets to celebrate.

"Spain tried to play football and Holland only tried to kick them," he added.

Over 100,000 people flocked into the centre of Madrid to watch the game on giant screens, faces painted in red and gold with flags wrapped round their shoulders, and the tense nature of the game made the outpouring of emotions stronger at the end.

After Spain's goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas lifted the trophy in Johannesburg the parties got into full swing.

Impromptu fireworks displays could be heard all over Madrid, cars screeched through the streets with flags flapping and Spaniards young and old joined the party.

Children looked slightly bemused while some of the older ones seemed lost for words.

"We've been waiting years for something like this (at the World Cup), said Miguel. "They are a real team and they deserve it. Iniesta was the man of the match."

Amidst the wild celebrations a solitary Dutch fan called Anoushka, dressed in an orange dress, said: "I didn't like the way Netherlands played, Spain deserved to win."

Spain are expected to return to Madrid on Monday and will have an open top bus parade around the capital in the evening before a giant party on the banks of the river Manzanares.

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