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World Cup final: minute by minute

By Paul Gittings, CNN
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spain take on the Netherlands in an all-European World Cup final in Johannesburg
  • Former South African president Nelson Mandela attends final at Soccer City
  • Both teams bidding for their first-ever triumph in World Cup

CNN will be providing a minute by minute guide to Sunday's World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain.

(CNN) -- Half an hour gone and after a promising start the 19th World Cup final is turning into an attritional battle with plenty of fouls, some unpleasant.

That's an outrageous challenge from De Jong. He's lucky to still be on the pitch. Alonso is lucky not to have cracked ribs, tweets a hot-under-the-collar CNN Armchair fan Matt Booth..

27 minutes: Nigel De Jong takes out Alonso with a chest-high tackle and like van Bommel might have seen red on another day. Reckless.

22 minutes: Now Ramos has gone into the book for a sliding tackle on Kuyt. 2-2 on cards.

21 minutes: Mark Van Bommel clatters into Andres Iniesta and is perhaps lucky just to escape with a yellow card.

17 minutes: Wesley Sneijder into action for first time with a low shot which might have tested Iker Casillas who safely gathers.

16 minutes: Spain captain Carles Puyol joins van Persie in Howard Webb's book.

14 minutes: Further sign of Dutch frustration as Robin van Persie booked for a clumsy tackle.

10 minutes: Ramos waltzes down the Dutch right and sends in a vicious cross shot which is cleared for a corner and in the follow up Xabi Alonso's cross finds David Villa who shoots into the sidenetting.

Looks like the jubilani for the final has gold rings instead of green and red. I wonder if this one works any better? CNN's armchair fan Matt Booth tweets rather cynically !

Seven minutes: First shot of the match for the Dutch - a long-range effort from Dirk Kuyt but Spain look the more menacing side by far.

Four minutes: Spain nearly take an early lead as Sergio Ramos sees his header tipped away by Maarten Stekelenburg.

The deciding match is upon us. SPA is the better side but I still believe HOL will win. Atmosphere at Soccer City has been electric all day, tweets CNN's Pedro Pinto

Teams are out the anthems have been played. Now let's get down to the action.

Nelson Mandela is in the crowd. WOW tweets CNN's Ben Wyatt.

Latest team news: European champions Spain left star striker Fernando Torres on the bench for the World Cup final against Holland as coach Vicente Del Bosque opted for the same starting line-up that beat Germany in the semifinals.

Young Barcelona winger Pedro will play up front again alongside the prolific David Villa.

As expected, the Dutch made two changes to their side from the one that beat Uruguay in their semi-final.

Ajax right-back Gregory van der Wiel and defensive midfielder Nigel de Jong, who both missed the win over Uruguay, returned after serving one-match suspensions.

Teams:

Netherlands: Maarten Stekelenburg; Gregory van der Wiel, John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen, Giovanni van Bronckhorst (capt); Mark van Bommel, Nigel de Jong; Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Dirk Kuyt; Robin van Persie

Coach: Bert van Marwijk (NED)

Spain: Iker Casillas (capt); Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Joan Capdevila; Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso; Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Pedro; David Villa

Coach: Vicente Del Bosque (ESP)

Referee: Howard Webb (ENG)