Barcelona Midfielder Andres Iniesta's Top 6 Spain Moments
A lot of footballers play at high levels for their club but then can't reproduce their form on the international stage—but not Andres Iniesta.
Barcelona’s playmaker has been a star for his country since he netted his first goal in 2007 after making his debut for La Roja in 2006.
Time and time again it is Iniesta who has made the difference in the biggest games, and he will hope to do the same in Brazil at the 2014 World Cup.
Here are his six greatest moments in the red shirt of Spain, taking into account all competitions, friendlies and performances.
6. His First Goal for Spain vs. England in 2007
Iniesta bagged his first goal for Spain against England in at Old Trafford in February 2007.
And what a belter it was.
The midfielder took one touch to control the ball on the right-hand side of the box, 20 yards out, and on his next touch pinged it into the top-left corner, past the despairing dive of Ben Foster.
Iniesta had only entered the fray as a substitute a few minutes before making the decisive impact.
Spain ran out 1-0 winners in the friendly, while England manager Steve McClaren was criticised for his team's shoddy display.
5. Succulent Semi-Final Showing in 2008
Iniesta was the key man as Spain dispatched Russia 3-0 in the Euro 2008 semi-final.
Although he did not find the net himself, it was his clever ball into the box which Barcelona team-mate Xavi turned home to open the scoring after 50 minutes.
Iniesta was given the man-of-the-match award as Spain earned themselves a chance at glory in the final against Germany.
He pulled the strings for his country, as shown in this individual highlights video.
4. Recovering from Injury for World Cup 2010
According to Graham Hunter of the Daily Mail, Iniesta played about 30 minutes in the last third of Barcelona's 2009/10 season.
His World Cup dream was in jeopardy after a long and traumatic injury layoff.
But Spain stood by their man and put him on the plane to South Africa. Just lining up for his country for their opening match would have been a proud moment for Iniesta.
Spain lost 1-0 to Switzerland in a result that sent shock waves round the world, but merely starting the game was a triumph in itself for Iniesta.
3. Iniesta Bags Winner vs. Chile in 2010
After that defeat by Switzerland, Spain needed to step up a gear to get through the group stage.
They beat Honduras and then played Chile in their last game of the World Cup's first stage.
It was Iniesta's goal which eventually proved the difference, as Spain ran out 2-1 winners against their tough South American opponents.
To cap it off, Iniesta picked up the man-of-the-match award for another impressive display.
2. Man of the Match in Euro 2012 Final
In Spain's 4-0 win over Italy in the final of Euro 2012, Andres Iniesta did not score or assist any of the goals.
In fact, in the whole tournament he only produced one assist in total and failed to find the net.
And yet because the Euro 2012 final was one of his finest games, he was named Player of the Tournament.
Iniesta picked up the man-of-the-match award for the final too.
His superb passing and movement, creativity and ingenuity were clear for all to see.
When Silva opened the scoring, it was from a Fabregas cross, but Iniesta was the man who had cleverly slipped in his Barcelona colleague.
1. Decisive Goal vs. Holland in World Cup Final
If you've followed the career of Iniesta at all, you won't be surprised to see this hailed as his best moment in a Spain shirt.
It will stay with him for the rest of his life.
Deep in extra time, with the score 0-0 against Holland, Spain broke away.
During the buildup Iniesta back-heeled the ball to a team-mate around the halfway line and continued his run towards the box.
Eventually Fabregas saw him in space and popped the ball through.
Iniesta's first touch teed it up into the air, away from him. The ball bounced. Iniesta waited.
As it rose, he half-volleyed it firmly into the bottom-left corner.
It was a brilliant finish, and Spain won the World Cup.
Iniesta ran toward the left-hand corner of the stadium in sheer ecstasy. He whipped off his shirt, revealing a tribute message to late footballer Dani Jarque.
In this, his biggest moment, he hailed somebody else.
He said afterwards, per El Pais (h/t Goal.com):
Making the millions of people who have suffered with the national team happy pleased me a lot. The happiness of the people is priceless. I never dreamed of scoring a goal in a World Cup final. In that moment I just was thinking about how to hit the ball and where I wanted to put it. After the first control of the ball, I knew it was a goal. I knew the defence was not arriving, neither the goalkeeper... I just had to wait for the falling ball and fulfill Newton's law, only this time the apple was the ball and Newton's head, my feet.