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Where Does This World Cup Rank With The Best?

 Where Does This World Cup Rank With The Best?

The 2010 World Cup is over and while it was definitely not the best tournament of all time, there were plenty of highs and lows. In fact, I would argue that it was a better tournament than 2006. The frenzy at the end of games such as Uruguay against Holland, Ghana against Uruguay and Italy and Slovakia are just a few examples of how exciting the World Cup was.

But while the World Cup 2010 is still fresh in our minds, where do you think this tournament ranks with the best from the past?

Vote below and let us know which was your favorite World Cup tournament. And feel free to explain why in the comments section below.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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25 Responses to Where Does This World Cup Rank With The Best?

  1. Was decent and plenty talking points, but 2002 remains my favourite

    I’m only 21 so can’t really comment on a lot of the older tournaments!

  2. LFC says:

    FYI, Chrome has been throwing up this warning all day for the website

    “The website at epltalk.com contains elements from the site ads.footballmedia.com, which appears to host malware – software that can hurt your computer or otherwise operate without your consent. Just visiting a site that contains malware can infect your computer.”

    • The Gaffer says:

      LFC, sorry about that. The error is only happening on Chrome. And I can reassure you that there is no malware on the site. It should be corrected within 24 hours.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  3. Simon Burke says:

    Not my favourite and perhaps my worst. Very few comebacks, a lot of negative football, a lot of possession football with little attacking intent. Not that many great games.
    86 and 90 were my faves, 98 was good too.
    Ghana v Uruguay was the standout game by a mile. France was the standout story.

  4. Anonymous says:

    2002 will always be very special for me. I was only 15 years old and I remember getting up at 2am to watch the Round of 16 game of USA v Mexico. Later that morning,I had an important exam for high school French. My father and brother were both critical of me for waking up at 2am to watch “a stupid soccer game”. I think that’s what attracted me to the beautiful game in the first place because it was something so completely different. Anyway, I watched as McBride and Donovan broke Mexican hearts and saw a young Rafa Marquez lose his cool and throw an elbow on my favorite soccer player’s hairstyle in Cobi Jones. It was such an important moment in my life when I look back upon it because it inspired a love and passion for the game that I still have. I’ve been able to watch almost all of the matches in the past two World Cups and have been largely disappointed. Yes, there are some firecracker and nail-biting matches that come to mind (ex. from ’06: USA v Italy, Argentina v. Mexico, from ’10: Uruguay v. Ghana, USA v. Slovenia, Slovakia v. Italy) but overall there were so many dull matches. I still want the 3 hours of my life back that I spent watching Ukraine v. Switzerland from 2006. Anyway, 2002 was tops for me.

  5. Wasn’t impressed by this tourney one bit, it is probably one of the worst that I’ve ever seen.
    My fav was the 1990 Italy tournament, Great football, great stadiums, pavarotti belting out in the build up and Gazza at his peak, taking the world by storm.

    • Peter says:

      1990! You gotta be joking. That tournament was full of negative, time-wasting tactics used to hold on to slim 1-0 leads. The worst world cup ever. Many teams simply played out draws because a win was only worth 2 points not 3 and because goalkeepers could pick the ball up from a back-pass time-wasting went on throughout.

      The final was an atrocity as well. 1-0 between two teams what played very poorly throughout yet somehow made it, West Germany & Argentina, 2 of the most predictable sides ever. Semi-finals went to penalties as did the final. So sorry but that 1990 world cup was the worst world cup by a mile. Now 2006, that was a good world cup.

      • Dave C says:

        I kind of have mixed thoughts about Italia ’90. On the one hand, it was the first World Cup I was aware of at the time (I was 9 years old), and for an England fan it was memorable. I sometimes wonder if I would have fallen quite so in love with football if England HADN’T gone on that run to the semis with it’s memorable players (Gazza, Lineker, Platt, Waddle). It also had some other memorable moments – Toto Schillaci making a name for himself, Roger Milla’s dance, the Rijkard-Voller spit-fest.

        Also, to this day I can’t hear Nessun Dorma without thinking of slow-motion replays of dramatically pleading Italians, dirty Argentinians, ruthlessly efficient Germans and crying Englishmen. What a song!

        On the other hand, it was in so many ways a dire tournament. The structure of the tournament (24 teams, meaning finishing 3rd in the group could still mean progress) meant that a lot of the group games were horrible because everyone was happy to settle for a draw. Especially since a win only earned two points in those days. And it’s hard to imagine now that in those days keepers could pick up back passes. And the general level of cynicism throughout the tournament (both wreckless foulds and blatant diving) was showcased in the final.

    • Simon Burke says:

      Peter is spot on, besides the immortal Pavarotti theme tune and the awesome Cameroon triple tackle on a dreadfully negative Argentina that tournament was dire. Very very drab World Cup. Taking out the England moments , all 2 of them (Platt and Gazz’s tears) it was a poor tournament.

  6. Dude. says:

    Loved it, mainly because my country won! ha! But we all have to realize that this IS the future of soccer, most teams play like this now, its the sad truth, but this is how it will always be forever now.

  7. Andrei says:

    82 tournament hands down. With Italy vs Brazil and Germany vs France that are games for the ages. And very decent Italy vs Germany final.

  8. Howard McLaren says:

    1970 and 1982 both superb tournements

  9. sma says:

    2006 will always be my favorite because I was fortunate enough to travel around Europe as it was happening. This is, of course, a separate issue from the games themselves, but watching at home this time around paled in comparison, even though I loved the fact that there was a lot of new blood in South Africa.

    Here’s to a more open World Cup in 2014 where we in the U.S. get a break from watching games at 7:30 am.

  10. Brn442 says:

    Can’t remember much of 82 even though it was my first – 86 for me, as I was lucky enough the see a football god pull his team to victory almost single-handedly.

    I will second Simon, apart from it being in Africa, there was not much to take out from this one – maybe a couple of truly thrilling matches, hardly any cracking goals thanks in part to that “ball”. Lots of empty seats, apart from Suarez and Mueller, no real revelation by a new player. ALL the major stars played miles short of their potential – weird considering the weather and times were almost perfect, shocking refereeing, even by WC standards, A disappointing final. Gaffer, better than 2006 ? I really can’t see it.

  11. Ivan says:

    The first WC that I remember was probably my favorite: the Maradona show in 1986. Ridiculous games, Argentina-England, USSR-Belgium, Brazil-France, Negrete’s bicycle kick goal, and, of course, the most dramatic final of them all, Argentina-Germany.
    Then, you have 1994 when Bulgarian and Stoichkov stunned the world in style (before being robbed of a stone cold penalty in the semi-final by the criminal French referee Joel Quiniou v. Italia). Sweden and Romania also put on quite the show that year…very dull goalless final between Italia-Brazil, though…
    This World Cup, between empty stadiums (don’t believe the stats: those are tickets sold not actual attendance numbers), annoying vuvuzelas, the most attrocious ball in World Cup history(Jabulani, ladies and gentlemen), and defensive football, was mediocre at best.
    Don’t get me wrong, we had our share of stories:
    1. Diego Forlan and Uruguay.
    2. Ghana-Uruguay, Holland-Uruguay, Italia-Slovakia, Germany-Uruguay games.
    3. Landon Donovan’s heroics, Slovenie/US drama.
    4. Germany-England disallowed goal controversy.
    5. Germany destroying Argentina.
    5. The Maradona antics.
    6. Paul, the Octopus, the greatest Octopus there was!
    All in all, I would place this World Cup on par w/ Korea/Japan, worse than Germany 2006…

  12. UpTheBlues says:

    Personally, I’ll miss the 7am games. I loved those.

  13. AfricasCup says:

    This has probably been the best world cup. I’m NOT white and I’m NOT European and i DID NOT what a Europhied world cup. If i wanted it to sound like Europe i’d be watching reruns Euro 2008.

    All the crap Euros hate i like. the atmosphere was great. I loved the vuvuzelas. Yeah that’s South Africa. Don’t like it? Don’t care. The people where phenominal. South Africa was a constant party with friendly people. it was a festival of football.

    All the Euro haters where proved wrong. They said the stadia wouldn’t be ready, south africa would have rampant violence. Nothing was further from the truth. They whined about the ball. Tim Howard had no issue. He played in the epl. Casillas seemed ok with it. i think la liga uses a nike ball. Forlan was ok with it. Villa was ok, Klose was ok with it. And being American no World Cup has garnered more attention or captured the hearts of America like this one and cause of the U.S. great effort. It slowed the darn U.S. stock exchange until the U.S. game ended.

    There was high drama in the Ghana Urugauy game. i loved that major powers where upset and knocked out. I don’t care that England, and Italy and France went home. I didnt’ come to see them. I love that South American did so well.

    i think if you’re a europhile it was too far, you hate the horns, you hate the african nature, it’s not like england with the singing, but if you’re African this is exactly what you want. The final sucked cause the Dutch didn’t try to play football. And of course some games suck just like tons of epl games tons of champions league games, the champions league final. All the stories Ivan mentioned above and above most of those the stories around the Ghana and the african teams. But overall it’s been the most enjoyable World Cups one i’ve seen.

    • AfricasCup says:

      i will say this too. the negative play should be blamed on negative teams and coaches that sit back and don’t attack. The dutch ruined that final with their approach.

    • IanCransonsKnees says:

      If that’s the case AC I’d recommend sticking to following Non European leagues or teams from now on. Slavishly following the EPL for example will only serve to drive up the overseas TV revenue, depriving the smaller leagues and football outposts of local income.

      In my opinion the world cup was put on excellently by the South Africans but it was the other countries that failed to deliver with the quality of their football (and I include the European teams in that). It’ll be interesting to see what the next European Championships is like in terms of style as it is generally considered tougher to win given the greater parity between the teams taking part. However it’ll be none of your concern as I guess you will not be watching it.

      I have to say from what I’ve seen of the tournament and what I’ve heard from people coming back it makes me look forward to my trip to SA in November. If I can I hope to take in an Ajax Cape town game, it’ll be interesting to see the quality on offer and the mark that this World Cup has left on the nation’s football supporting public.

  14. Thomas says:

    The tournament offered an array of entertaining and good games, save for the first matches in group play.

    2006 will always hold a special place for me, as I was in Germany for the tournament.

    Though there were great memories from this tournament, ranging from the 7Am wake ups/ all nighters…the US coming back in stoppage time to go through to the round of 16, etc…it’s hard to compare to being in the country staging the cup.

    Having a job and having to watch many of the matches on my DVR, often alone, or with 1 or 2 friends, I missed much of the atmosphere. Besides being @ the match, not much compares to attending a viewing party with Germany beating Argentina in penalties on German soil.

  15. Rami S. says:

    I believe WC1986 and WC2006 were some of the best I’ve seen because of
    Argentina vs Germany in 1986 and Germany vs Italy in Germany 06. There were other good games in those two tournaments but those 2 clashes standout. In WC86, Maradona was simply unstoppable (even using his hand) and I would have added WC1982 but I only got to see the games on tape but I still rank Brazil vs Italy and Germany vs Italy as two of the entertaining games from ’82 as well as Germany vs France.

    I think WC2010 was disappointing in terms of the football played as most teams moved away from entertaining, exciting and fun football to a defensive strategy or one focused on simply winning at all costs. In previous World Cups, even those teams aiming to win displayed some positive football.

    I think every tournament has its special experience such as 2010 being the first in Africa and Octopus Paul making the right predictions but what game would one put inside the top 15 matches to be ever played in World Cup history? I’d say none! The Final was more of a fight than about beauty of the game while the knockout stages were mostly mediocre games except for the Germans pouncing on the defensive errors of England and Argentina to score 4 goals in each match.

    WC 2006 had at least the Germany vs Italy semi-final which ranks high while all World Cup tournaments between 1982 and 2006 had at least one good match worth watching again.

    Can anyone think of such an entertaining game from WC2010?

  16. Tom says:

    I thought world cup 2010 was a bit of a disaster. Empty stadiums, low scoring games, defensive football, drained players, and a lack of star players. I dont remember the last major tournament where I saw this many empty seats.
    The 06 world cup had legends such as Zidane, Figo, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Totti, Del Piero, Nesta, Shevchenko, Ballack, Thuram, Henry, Ronaldinho, Cafu, Koller, Nedved, Appiah, Essien, Ayala, Crespo, Cambiasso, Beckham etc. Previous tournaments had a similar number of star players.
    The 2010 world cup had very few legends (a young Messi, Forlan, and who else?).
    Overall, an extreme disappointment.

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