Print

2010 South Africa World Cup

Written by Sebastien on 19 December 2012. Posted in World Cup History

This time for Africa!

“Go Africa” said FIFA and the World Cup came to Africa for the first time in its history. South Africa became the first African nation to host the World Cup in its 19th edition. The matches were played in ten stadiums in nine host cities around the country with the final played at the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. Usual controversies ensued with concerns regarding completion of construction, human rights of workers and stadium altitudes. However, they did not intervene in the smooth completion of the tournament.

Thirty two teams qualified for the tournament and it also became the first World Cup not to feature a team making its debut appearance. South Africa automatically qualified as hosts. However, the defending champions were not given automatic berth and Italy had to face the qualifiers. The 2010 World Cup shares with Olympics the record of most competing nations in a sporting event.

The Buzz

The pre-World Cup buzz of excitement centered on the favorites Germany and Spain. The Germans were observed to be blessed with the right mix of youth and experience with the youngsters Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira rubbing shoulders with experienced campaigners Miroslav Klose, Philip Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Spain was the reigning European champion and their brand of short passing, possession oriented tiki-taka football was setting the world on fire. The usual suspects featured too with Brazil, Netherlands and Argentina expecting nothing but the World Cup for their trophy cabinets. Argentina, coached by the legend Diego Maradona were something of a surprise package with people not knowing what to expect. The World Cup was also keenly followed for the precocious talents of Albiceleste’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo; participating at the height of the powers.

 The World Cup 2010 group stage consisted of the thirty two teams divided into eight groups of four. The matches took place in a round-robin format. The biggest shock of the round was the elimination of reigning World Cup champions Italy who failed to win a single match. France followed suit with dressing room skirmishes becoming a negating factor for Les Bleus. The hosts displayed a gritty performance with a win against France and draw against Mexico, but it wasn’t enough for the Bafana Bafana to qualify. Uruguay and Ghana qualified from their respective groups and were noted for their care-free attacking football. Argentina and Netherlands made it to the round of 16 without losing a single match. Joining them were Uruguay, South Korea, United States, Ghana, Slovakia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Germany, England, Paraguay, Japan, Spain and Portugal. South American teams continued to perform well in the World Cup with four teams advancing to the quarter-finals.

Uruguay played Ghana in the World Cup quarter finals. Luis Suarez handled the ball on the line in the dying moments of the match to earn a red card and a penalty to Ghana. However, Asamoah Gyan failed to convert and the match went to extra time. Ghana became the African tragedy after failing to win on penalties as Uruguay advanced to the World Cup semi finals. Elsewhere, Netherlands defeated Brazil in a feisty encounter which featured a red card for Brazil’s Felipe Melo. Argentina’s run of 4 straight victories came to an end when they were stuffed by Germany for four goals to one. Spain continued in their merry ways as they beat Paraguay one nil.
 

Viva la Espana

The World Cup semi final pitted Uruguay against Netherlands. An exciting match saw five goals scored as Netherlands won 3-2. Spain continued their sequence of one nil wins to eliminate Germany. It all led to the biggest match on the planet, the World Cup final. Spain faced Netherlands. The match was refereed by Englishman Howard Webb. The tackles flew in as Netherlands attempted to disrupt the free flowing possession football from Spain. It was an ill tempered affair which saw the referee brandish 12 yellow cards and a red card. The number of cautions handed out is the highest in World Cup final history. Around the 60 minute mark, Arjen Robben of the Oranje missed a one on one chance when he came up against Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas. For Spain, Sergio Ramos missed a free header from a corner kick. The match was settled by an extra time goal from Andres Iniesta in the 116th minute. He dedicated his goal to his former Spanish team mate and Espanyol defender the late Daniel Jarque.

The result marked the first time that two different teams from the same continent had won successive World Cups. Spain became the team to score the least number of goals and win the World Cup in its history. They also managed to do that after losing their opening match against Switzerland. Germany’s Thomas Mueller won the World Cup golden boot with 5 goals. There were others who lit up the tournament including Uruguay’s Diego Forlan, Netherlands’ Wesley Sneijder and Spain’s David Villa. The 2010 World Cup was the mostly widely televised in World Cup history and is remembered as one the best ever for its organization. Spain, once branded the perennial underachievers were now reigning European and World Champions with a possible era of domination ahead of them.
 

Get our newsletter!

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive all our updates with useful articles, information and all you need to know for Brazil 2014 World Cup!