The soccer fans in Hempstead erupted into wild cheers.

"Goal!" the group of about 50 yelled in the multipurpose room of Círculo de la Hispanidad, as Spain's Andrés Iniesta's kick found the net, breaking the tense silence of a tied game with the Netherlands nearly two hours into the World Cup's final match.

As the final whistle blew 10 minutes later, Gil Bernardino, a native Spaniard, jumped up and began hugging people gathered for the game. His home country had won its first World Cup.

"It's the greatest moment in my life in this sport," said Bernardino, the founder and executive director of Círculo de la Hispanidad, a Long Beach-based nonprofit social services advocacy group.

At dozens of bars, restaurants, cultural institutions and other establishments that catered to Sunday's World Cup crowd on Long Island, people gathered to cheer for family ties or a favored side. Blood played a role for many fans: More than 12,000 Long Islanders claimed Spanish, Spanish-American or Spaniard as their ancestry on the 2000 census. More than 19,000 claimed Dutch ancestry.

At Cafe Buenos Aires in Huntington, manager Cristina O'Boyle, whose father is from Spain, spent a nerve-racking afternoon, serving customers and cheering for her team.

"It was absolutely amazing," she said of a game that remained scoreless through regulation and for the first of two extra time periods. "I'm so glad it didn't go into penalty kicks."

Moments later, bartender Jackie Manzanares pinned a Spanish flag to the awning outside the restaurant. A Netherlands fan, clad in an orange jersey, jokingly said: "That flag had better come down."

Another Netherlands fan, Sean Sadowski, who said he is one-eighth Dutch, said he was OK with the loss.

"I'm not too broken up," he said. "They were just the better team. Good for Spain - their first cup."

At Círculo de la Hispanidad, enthusiasm for Spain ran high all day. Bernardino moved to the United States in 1974 and remains a big Spain soccer fan. "I breathe football," he said.

Pointing at the emblem on his Spain jersey, Bernardino said: "It's an emotional day."

Another fan there, Carlos Gonzalez, 66, of Long Beach, a Guatemala native who has lived in the United States for 40 years, said: "I am cheering for Spain because it is the motherland for us Latin Americans."

Fans said the game was an emotional roller coaster as both teams missed chances to take the lead for more than 111 minutes of play.

At Migueleño, a Salvadorean restaurant in Huntington Station, a tense crowd watched, yelling "Ahora! Ahora!" - "Now! Now!" - with every scoring chance.

"What a great game this is," said John Arden, 42, of Island Park, in the Círculo room as the game went into overtime.

"This is tense, this is tense," said Sarah Brewster, 37, of Long Beach. "My heart keeps stopping. It's like mini-heart attacks."

With Michael Amon

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