One Hundred and Sixteen Spaniards and One Dutchman

July 16, 2010 | By Jasper Juinen | Sport

It was an amazing six weeks traveling with the Spanish national football team and I couldn’t believe it would come to an even more amazing end when Spain played in the final match against my native homeland of Holland.

This World Cup trip has taken me, and my Spanish colleagues, from Schrun and Innsbruck in Austria back to Madrid and Murcia in Spain to Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and again Durban and Johannesburg. After a bit of a slow start against Switzerland, Spain players David Villa, Andres Iniesta, and the rest of the Spanish team, quickly picked up the pace and made it all the way to the final.

It was a sight to see – one hundred and sixteen Spaniards and one Dutchman, leaving the Road Lodge home in Potchefstroom behind, set on the last leg of their long travel; on our way to the final of the 2010 World Cup, played at the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg.

Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

After a three hour (or so) bus ride from Potchefstroom to Johannesburg we arrived at our hotel. We had just enough time for lunch before we had to leave to get to the Spanish training session at the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. After weeks of chatting with my Dutch friends, who are following the Dutch team trough South Africa, it is great seeing them again. Jerry, Guus, Olaf, Koen, Michael, Hans and many more, with lots to talk about before the training session started. The Soccer City stadium was impressive and I quickly found seat number 214 — my seat for the final match.

The following morning, I woke up after a good night of sleep, from the sound of ‘Manolo El Bombo de España’ drumming his drum under my bedroom window while singing Yo soy español, español, español. Thanks for that Manolo, but that wake up call made me quickly realize that it was finally the day for the final match.

Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

After I ate breakfast and packed my gear it was time to go to the stadium. Instead of the usual manaña, manaña we arrive well ahead of the game at the stadium. After meeting up with the rest of the Getty Images team we make our way inside the stadium way earlier than usual due to the closing ceremony that will be held before the match in which Nelson Mandela was rumored to appear. After setting up my remote cameras behind the goal, and preparing the other cameras with which I would shoot during the match, it was time for the closing ceremony.

Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

The appearance of Nelson Mandela was short but impressive. The former South African president waved to the crowd seated on the back of a golf cart. It’s been awhile that I have had goose bumps while taking pictures, but this moment brings them back. It was very impressive and it made the atmosphere so much more electric than it already was.

But… back to reality. It was time to look for the famous girlfriends of the Dutch players. Dressed with an orange muppet on her head and wrapped in a Dutch flag, the girlfriend of Wesley Sneijder, Yolanthe Cabau van Kasbergen, was standing with the girlfriend of John Heitinga, Charlotte-Sophie Zenden. The two were easy to find.

Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Finally, it was 20:30hrs, the referee blew his whistle and the 2010 World Cup final match was on its way. My position gave me the Spain attack in the first half. In my heart, as a Dutch man, I was hoping for Holland to win, but I knew Spain was the strongest team. Having followed the Spanish players for the past weeks and, most of them, during this season’s Champions League and Spanish La Liga, I know how good they are.

After many hard moments of football and emotions the game goes into extra time. The match was finally getting underway with good football and some great shots on goal by both Holland and Spain.

Unfortunately for the Dutch, Andre Iniesta scored the winning goal at the end of the second half of overtime. As the goal is scored on the other end of the pitch from where I was, I concentrated on the Spanish goal keeper celebrating his teammate’s goal.

Two minutes later the match is over. Holland loses. While the Dutch deal with their disappointment, Spain is handed the trophy. Their joy is obvious and amazing. Having followed this team and the final game, these boys deserved to win the 2010 World Cup.

Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Photos by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

After the celebrations on the pitch it was time to pack my gear. After a well-deserved refreshment with my colleagues, it was time to say goodbye to them, until the next assignment. I headed off to the Spanish media bus, comforted by my Spanish colleagues on the Dutch team’s loss.

At two in the morning I arrived at the Johannesburg International airport.  I rushed past queues of surprised looking fans and  I was on the Spanish team plane within 20 minutes after arriving to the airport. Three hours after the match I am airborne, leaving the winter, the 2010 World Cup tournament and a fantastic country behind. Now off to warmth of the Spanish summer.

Whether you wanted it or not, soon after take-off it was party time and I was starting to feel like it was going to be a long flight. While hanging in one of the plane’s galleys, waiting for a photo opportunity with the Spanish team, the World Cup trophy was handed to me. This was a chance one does not get too often, especially being Dutch.  A colleague quickly snaps a picture for me as proof and as a memory for later.

That’s me holding the trophy.

After handing back the trophy we finally get the opportunity to photograph the Spanish players on the plane.

Photos by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Not much longer, we land in Madrid, where thousands of fans and the summer weather are waiting for us.

While my Getty Images colleagues Denis and Angel cover the players arrival, I picked up my luggage and changed my winter boots, jeans and jumper for summer clothes in the backseat of a taxi. I made it to my spot on Gran Via in the center of Madrid just in time to cover the player’s parade.

I was amazed by the crowd. Of course I had imagined that the fans in Spain would be going crazy after winning the World Cup but to completely understand the importance of the title, you have to see the hundreds of Spanish flags waving in the air.

Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

While the bus with the players celebrating  on it slowly made its way through the crowd, I took my last 2010 World Cup pictures realizing what a privileged position I have had over the past few weeks. I have witnessed and documented history watching  Spain becoming world champions.

Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

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  • Olaf Kraak

    Hi Jasper this cup is also a reward for your years of hard work in your second homecountry Spain. Welldone and enjoy. Best Olaf

  • SAP Training London

    Why dutch fan are getting worry. I think should be happy that they have reach to final.
    Better luck next friends.

  • Jonathan Klein

    Jasper, Thanks for the wonderful blog. Also thank you for a great world cup! I was also supporting the Dutch . . .


  • Calvin Smith

    What a trip you must have had, I’m sure the Spanish selection will insist that you return to cover Poland and Ukraine in 2012, like a lucky charm. Big fan of your cycles in the French sunflowers best wishes Calvin – Madrid

  • Getty image office philippines

    A good moment! those pics had said it all! You really had so much fun.

  • getty images philippines

    Well done Spain! I watched this game, and they really deserved the cup!

  • Ben

    It was great meeting you and joining you on this journey. Hope to see you back in South Africa one day.