JOHANNESBURG — Spain's soft touch and quick passing game helped the European champions dominate possession after the first 45 minutes of the World Cup final on Sunday, even though they were level at 0-0 with the Netherlands at halftime.

The Spanish controlled much of the play at Soccer City and had the two best chances early in the match.

Defender Sergio Ramos sent a header from Xavi Hernandez's cross on target, but goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg made the save in the fifth minute. Spain striker David Villa's left-foot volley from Xabi Alonso's cross then hit the side-netting in the 12th.

In the 28th, Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong was lucky to escape without only a yellow card after kicking Alonso in the chest while going for a ball. (AP)