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World Cup 2010 review

World Cup 2010 review


Favourites Spain were worthy winners in the end and although Octopus Paul called it, so too did we! Admittedly we thought they’d be facing 5-time champions Brazil in Johannesburg on 11th July, but nevertheless it was a breath of fresh air to have the final contested by two teams who’d never won the trophy before. In a stop-start final marred by foul tackles the best team eventually won and captain Casillas’s tearful face summed-up what it meant to this humble squad as they entered the history books and became the pride of a nation.

No time for losers

Whether you blame the Jabulanis, Vuvuzelas, Paul the Octopus, poor officiating or whether you curse the lack of technology, France, Italy, England, Portugal and the African countries all failed to live up to expectations. This can further be broken down to poor individual performances from players of whom a lot was expected. Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Glen Johnson were the most notable for the Three Lions as they could not even come close to recreating their club form. Franck Ribery was not a shadow of the player so vital in Bayern Munich’s double winning season and whoever touted Gourcuff as the next Zidane should apologise to the World Cup winner at once for tarnishing his good name.

A largely unrecognizable Italian team looked like anything but world champions as they finished bottom of their ‘easy’ group managing two draws and a loss – a disgraceful showing for which coach Marcello Lippi took full responsibility.

Despite the abundance of stars such as Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, the Toure brothers, Salomon Kalou, Emmanuel Eboue, Obafemi Martins, Joseph Yobo, Alex Song, Idriss Kameni, Sulley Muntari, Didier Zokora, John Obi Mikel, Richard Kingson, Vincent Enyeama and Steven Pienaar, African teams did not do themselves justice in this tournament. The ‘home’ crowd, so desperate for both success and entertainment were sadly let down and only Ghana can be proud of their performance as they narrowly missed out on a semi final place thanks to some cheating from the opposition and a missed penalty at the death – all without their best player, Chelsea’s Michael Essien.


This was the first World Cup to ever be staged in Africa and Spain’s first ever world title. There were also an unprecedented number of other ‘firsts’ celebrated (some not so much) in South Africa: Bafana Bafana sadly became the first host nation to fail in their bid to qualify for the knockout stages and for the first time in history South American teams held the majority over their European counterparts in terms of teams in the last eight. Paraguay also celebrated reaching the quarter finals for the first time.

Greece recorded their first goals and first ever points, as they beat Nigeria 2-1 in the group phase and the All-Whites got their first points (3 draws). Japan and Chile achieved their first wins outside of Asia and South America respectively.

Didier Drogba, complete with broken arm, became the first African player to score against Brazil, Cuauhtemoc Blanco is now the only Mexican to score in three World Cups and Rigobert Song is the only African to have featured in 4 World Cups.

Although they’ve reached the final twice before, Bert van Marwijk’s Netherlands team was the first in Oranje history to win all 3 of their group matches.

Did you know?

Midfield maestro Xavi Hernandez completed 599 successful passes, which is the most in a World Cup for more than 40 years (since 1966) and only 64 fewer than the entire New Zealand team managed in their 3 group games! With only 8 goals, Spain became the lowest scoring side ever to win the World Cup. 3rd placed Germany (16) scored double that amount!