For the first time in their history, Spain were crowned world champions after an extra-time victory over the Netherlands in South Africa. It was a victory met with almost universal acclaim.
Spain took the ball and never gave it back.
Tactical aficionados called it a victory for proactive football over reactive. The answer to Mourinho saying he didn’t need to ball to win.
Holland disappointed with their physicality in the final. The most memorable image from the game besides Iniestia’s winner was the matrix-style kick from Nigel de Jong on Xabi Alonso.
Spain’s march to the final started with a loss to Switzerland which made their progress through the group stage a nervy one. They won each of their subsequent knock-out games 1-0. They only ever needed one such was their ability to retain possession. David Villa scored the majority of their goals but it was Xavi who directed the orchestra.
Others such as Germany briefly thrilled but the slow-burning Spaniards were deserving winners.
What made the Portrush man’s year all the more remarkable was the company in which he achieved it.
Martin Kaymer had an outstanding year, capturing the USPGA title and marching to the world number three slot.
Lee Westwood dethroned the Tiger atop of the world standings yet it was still McDowell who defined the year.
Pebble beach was merely the start. When Phil, Tiger and Ernie began losing their heads in the breeze, McDowell kept his to seal the US Open.
When the Ryder Cup came around in October he was the anchor in Monty’s single’s selection on the Monday.
That snaking putt on 16 will go down as one of the great images in Ryder Cup history.
Most players would have settled for that but G-Mac went on to win at Valderama and defeated Tiger in a play-off to win the Chevron challenge. His Groundhog Day putts on 18 in that tournament summed him up.
When he needed to he produced even in the most exalted of company.
That long, arduous wait for Sam came to an end for the rebel county in September. It has hard to single out one special moment or game to show why Cork where the best side in the land. This was a title bathed in sweat.
Cork endured when others stumbled.
There may have been a sense of white line fever that kept them from showing us what they are truly capable of but that is understandable when you realise what this group of players have suffered.
Many commentators called for the shackles to come off during the summer but Conor Counihan had a game-plan and he stuck to it. The final summed up the championship.
The collective will of Cork bested the individual brilliance of Down. The Rebels will be difficult to stop now that the last great hurdle has been cleared.
There is something of the Terminator in Nadal.
An unceasing machine constantly moving forward. Three grand slams this year. There was one last niggling question asked of him, could he win at Flushing Meadows?
It was answered emphatically to embellish an already outstanding season.
Even the most fanatical of Federer fans must acknowledge the Spaniard’s standing as the great player in the tennis world. He has long since banished the bull in a china shop jibes.
Subtlety as well as stamina are now his main strengths.
The Premier County lived up to their billing in September when they destroyed Kilkenny’s drive for five All-Ireland titles in a row.
Consider where Tipp started from. They arrived in Cork last May as handy favourites to beat the old enemy and left with a 10-point hammering.
In hindsight it was the best thing to happen to them as they slipped somewhat under the radar until their dramatic win over Galway in the quarter final.
It was Lar Corbett who hit the winning point in that game and it was he who lit up the final with a hat-trick of goals. He now dines at the GAA top table known as Lar to go along with the likes of Henry or Gooch.
Paul Ring blogs at A View.