After a month of intense action, some big-name players and past champions fell by the way side, leaving the Netherlands and Spain to face-off in the World Cup final.
Spain deservedly emerged champions and added football's biggest prize to the showcase that already had European championship.
At the end of it all, here's a look at the players who left a mark on the tournament.
Richard Kingson (Ghana) - Every World Cup gives journeymen a chance to shine and after a largely low-key, wandering club career, Wigan Athletic's third-choice goalkeeper Kingson impressed throughout in a strong showing by Ghana. Made the most saves of any keeper at the finals.
Maicon only Brazilian to enhance his reputation
Maicon (Brazil) - In a disappointing tournament for the Brazilians, Maicon was the only player to really enhance his reputation. Energetic down the right, he will be best remembered for his goal from an extremely tight angle against North Korea.
Pique was rock solid for Spain
Puyol will be remembered for his winner against Germany
Lahm's reputation boosted by some fine performances
Xavi's ball control and shielding technique are exemplary
Xavi (Spain) - A sublime playmaker whose passing has been up to his usual, extremely high standards. The midfielder has been at the heart of Spain's metronomic passing game, his ball control and shielding technique are exemplary.
The most transformed player
A livewire playmaker, organiser, attacking threat and grafter too
Iniesta saved the best for last
Forlan was the main creative force for Uruguay
Diego Forlan (Uruguay) - The 31-year-old, who has got better with age, won the Golden Ball for best player of the finals. Now in a deeper role, he was the main creative force and attacking threat for the best South American team at the tournament.
His shooting was particularly dangerous from long range as shown by strikes from distance against South Africa in the group stage and in the semi-final defeat by Netherlands.
Villa was the biggest attacking threat at the World Cup
David Villa (Spain) - Whether in a wide role supporting the main striker or down the middle as the sole forward, Villa's pace, movement, touch and eye for goal made him the biggest attacking threat at the finals in which he scored five goals.
Substitutes: Manuel Neuer (Germany), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Diego Lugano (Uruguay), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Netherlands), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), Thomas Mueller (Germany), Miroslav Klose (Germany).