JOHANNESBURG — A spectator ran onto the field and tried to grab the World Cup trophy Sunday, moments before the Spain and Netherlands players were due to walk out at Soccer City for the tournament's final match.
A man ran in from a corner of the stadium and raced across the field toward the halfway line, where the trophy had been placed on a pedestal for the players to parade past.
The man was tackled just before he could get his hands on the trophy and was carried away by seven security guards, taken up the tunnel and past the waiting players as the crowd cheered.
Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro, who last lifted the World Cup trophy as winning captain when his team won the title in Berlin four years ago, had carried the trophy onto the field in its Louis Vuitton case. He took it out, and placed it on the stand facing the many dignitaries in attendance.
After Cannavaro left the field, the trophy stayed alone on the grass awaiting the arrival of the two teams. It was eventually taken off after the Dutch and Spanish national anthems were played.
Both Spain and the Netherlands are trying to win their first World Cup.
In the semifinals, an Italian fan carrying a vuvuzela ran onto the field during Spain's win over Germany on Wednesday to protest the exclusion of a player from Italy's squad.
The fan entered the field near Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer's net and sprinted almost to midfield before he was caught by security.