Monday, 12 July 2010

2010 World Cup Review

The 2010 Fifa World Cup came to feisty finish last night, and as with every World Cup, the tournament has created footballing history

Firstly, it was the first time that the continent of Africa has held the World Cup. After many stories and rumours of unfinished stadiums, high crime rates and poor facilities, I was glad to see that South Africa managed to do themselves proud and they deserve a lot of credit for the way they managed, organised and hosted the World Cup.

The 2010 World Cup also saw a new name added to the prestigious list of World Cup winners with Spain lifting the trophy. It was the first time that a European team has won the World Cup outside of Europe and the second time that a team has held both the World Cup and the European Championships at the same time, the other being France in '98 and 2000.

Apart from Spain finally breaking their World Cup curse, these World Cup finals are most likely to be remembered for the failures of many major teams. Both the finalists of the last World Cup, France and Italy failed to qualify from their groups, with Brazil, England and Argentina all going out much earlier than expected.

As well as teams failing to live up to expectations, many players also had a disappointing tournament. Some called it the Nike Curse after their advert including many star players such as Rooney and Ribery who failed to make an impact in South Africa. I don't think that anyone would have predicted that Rooney, Torres, Messi and Kaka would all fail to find the net.

However this World Cup could still have a massive impact in the game if FIFA do decide to look at goal line technology again. With two of the last 16 games (Germany v England and Argentina v Mexico) being changed by decisions which should not have happened, one for a disallowed goal and the other for a blatant offside.

I do hope that FIFA introduce some sort of goal line or video replay technology to the game. In years to come we could look back and wonder how football ever survived without it, much like the introduction of the crossbar in 1874.

Here are a few categories I have chosen and my winners:

Surprise of the tournament

Very close between the failures of the big teams and my winner, America. It may be ignorance on my behalf, but I was very surprised at how well they did and how involved the American population got into the tournament. I didn't think they would qualify from the group, and they ended up winning it. I'm not sure if it from the likes of David Beckham and Freddie Ljungberg playing in the MLS or if it is a underestimation of them from me, but their attitude and performances were way above what I was expecting. They could well be a footballing force to be reckoned with in the near future.

Disappointment of the tournament

Spain. Controversial, but for all their passing and skill available they were not the exciting team that we saw in Euro 2008 and that so many pundits promised. They had the majority of possession in all their games and may have completed more passes than anyone else, but they still only managed to score eight goals all tournament (a record low for World Cup winners) and on several occasions were saved by the lethal finishing of David Villa. As well as this, in every Spanish game I saw, there was diving and waving cards at the referee. I understand that they came up against mostly defensive sides, but Spain are good enough that they do not need to roll around on the floor and deceive the officials. The worst case of this was Cadevila in the game versus Portugal, which led to Ricardo Costa getting sent off.

Player of the tournament

I agree with the journalists who voted for Diego Forlan and gave him the Golden Ball. He was the stand out name alongside Suarez for an average looking Uruguay team. Forlan was a creative spark, yet he wasn't a luxury. He was focussed and determined in every game, scoring five goals and delivering dangerous set pieces. He scored some important and spectacular goals and led Uruguay to fourth place, bringing back memories of the Uruguay of old who won the World Cup twice.

Goal of the tournament

Siphiwe Tshabalala's goal v Mexico. The first goal of the World Cup, and what a goal. A quick counter from South Africa passing down the middle, fed to Tshabalala who unleashed a screamer into the postage stamp of the goal. Africa Erupted.

Stat of the tournament

New Zealand were the only unbeaten team in the World Cup.

With the World Cup over, there is only one more thing that you need to know...