World Cup 2010 – The Good and The Bad

 World Cup 2010   The Good and The Bad

World Cup 2010 South Africa has now been and gone, a feast of football for a month in the rainbow nation. Here are a few memories of the good and bad for the first World Cup of the decade.

The Good

Paul the Octopus – the world stood still in amazement and in humour, (in particular Germany) held its breath on which mussel would Paul take, that ultimately decided the fate of the nation. Paul’s fame quickly grew as the alleged English born two year old Cephalopod gained a 100% throughout the tournament after fierce competition from Mani the physic Parakeet who predicted a Dutch win in the final. After their semi-final defeat to Spain, German fans called for him to end up on a dinner plate.  He is now arguably the no. 2 fan in Spain behind Andres Ineista.

Ghana – In Africa’s first World Cup expectations were high for the African nations if not to win the World Cup then to put on a display to make the continent feel proud. By the arrival of the knock-out stages Ghana were the only African nation left, after squeezing through a tricky group with Germany. The unity that spread throughout Africa was unimaginable and propelled the Ghanaians’ to the last eight after a deserved victory over the US and were a handball (and a miss penalty) from the semis.

Germany – Vorsprung Durch Technik: The new generation proved to be a big surprise at the World Cup especially in the manner they took Australia, England and Argentina to the sword.  German teams in the past have always been identifiable to how they build their cars: strong, powerful engines, reliable with the occasional touch of class and elegance.  This young team are quick, skilful, strong and direct and have been the best counter attacking team of the World Cup with the likes of Ozil and Mueller.  Watch out for them in 2012 European Championships, they will only get better between now and then.

Spain’s tiki-taka football: Now you could argue that Spain weren’t always at their best in this tournament and only scored more than one goal in a game against Honduras.  But the style, patience and self belief they posses to constantly play the tiki-taka style of football has to be commended. Even when games were very tight entering the last 15 minutes against Portugal, Paraguay and in particular Germany they preserved and persisted with the same formula that has served them exceptionally well in the past.

South Africa ‘dancing out’ against Mexico on the opening day – They have become the first host nation in World Cup history not to qualify to the knockout stages, but their entrance to their opening match against Mexico was simple, breath taking and unique and symbolised the spirit and the coming together of a nation through football.

The Bad

Vuvuzelas – the less said on these ‘swarm of bees’ instrument the better, they were quite simply annoying and have been banned from the Rugby Tri Nations and World Cup in New Zealand next year – such is the impact they have had over the tournament.

Suarez and the Hand of God II – With the quarter final level at 2-2 between Ghana and Uruguay and heading towards penalties, Ghana striker Dominic Adiyah’s goal bound header was handled on the line by Uruguayan centre forward Luis Suarez.  He was subsequently sent off, but with Ghana missing the penalty and then being beaten in the shoot-out 4-2 uproar was felt around the football world. With the Ghanaian Sports Minister Akua Sena Dansua requesting for a rule change for the basketball equivalent of ‘goal-tending’.  What made matters worse was the level of joy and celebration from Suarez after the shootout and his claim to be the new ‘Hand of God’

England, France and Italy choking – three of Europe’s more established nations showed how tactically inept they are with over the hill, out-of-position players and ultra egos to cause player-coach bust-ups.

England: a team who were over-hyped carrying a number of injured players (Ferdinand, Barry, Lennon and Rooney to name a few). Key players playing out of position (Gerrard) and dictator of a manager who was unwilling to change the formation or system to balance the team. Recipe equals winning one of your four games, drawing against Algeria and then getting a football lesson from the young and skilful Germans. And to cap it off Rooney mouthing off to England fans when being booed off the pitch.

Italy: The World Cup winners of 2006 looked a shadow of their former selves, and the problems were all too apparent to see. In previous World Cups I fondly remember the likes of Baggio, Del Piero and Totti all being the central point of an Italian team, giving them the spark, the moment of imagination to unlock a defence. This World Cup they lacked a ‘playmaker’ and that water-tight defence that prided itself on being tighter than the Hoover Dam started to looked wary and show that no anti-ageing cream can avoid their ageing: in-deficiencies particularly from set pieces and quick footed players such as Robert Vittek.

France – C”est sacre bleu, Irish men, women and children alike would have been enjoying this one after the deep injustice that was served to them during last year’s playoff defeat. France are a team glittered with huge stars and egos to match, underperforming and splitting their dummies out when they don’t get what they want.  Domenech decisions need to be looked at closer under a microscope. Why pick Henry? And play Ribery in the ‘hole’ out of position that is not suited to him? But these issues are chicken feed to the deeper problems in the team: first Nicolas Anelka being sent home for verbally abusing Domenech, then Patrice Evra and the fitness coach Robert Duverne having a ‘set-to’, players refusing to train, FFF Managing Director Louis Valentin resigning and finishing bottom of group A.

Goal-line technology – This is very simple, Mr Blatter. Please introduce it ASAP, this was a major embarrassment for FIFA and football when Frank Lampard’s goal that was wasn’t given – fait accompli.

Jubalani – Why is it in every major championship does the issue of the ball arise? Adidas claim it is lighter and faster than ever, with more serve and power.  Quite simple it reminds me of the ones I use to use when I was 10 years old paying £1 from your local shop keeper.  It has more bounce than a beach ball, and made a complete embarrassment of some of the world’s best players (excluding Forlan). For future tournaments Herr Adidas why no just create a simple football with 32 panels and leave it to the skill of the footballer.

Mark Van Bommel (closely followed by the large majority of his team mates) – A player who in this World Cup has been more interested in taking players out with poor tackling rather than using experience and craft to out-perform the opponent.  How on earth he went nearly the whole 90 minutes against Uruguay before getting booked, and was lucky to not be sent off for a horrific tackle on Iniesta’s standing leg in the final.  As for the Dutch tactics on that ill-fated night at Soccer City, it’s all well and good to want to get stuck into your opponents and not give them too much respect and pass you around the park like a game of ‘piggy in-the-middle’ but to truly expect a game-plan to hack and saw your way to winning a World Cup is only going to end in tears once you become restricted to 10-men (or fewer as the case should have been).

Kader Keita – Many people remember Rivaldo’s antics from 2002 against Turkey. This was on an equal par – Keita was elbowed (very slightly) in the chest from Kaka and went down holding his face as if Manny Pacquiao had knocked him out in a title fight. What did FIFA do about it? Nothing!!

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27 Responses to World Cup 2010 – The Good and The Bad

  1. Jason says:

    How can we forget about Koman Coulibaly the official of the US/Slovenia match…

    • Andrei says:

      As bad as Coulibaly’s refereeing was it didn’t have that much of impact on US team progression in the tournament. It made it a bit harder but in the end they went out loosing to Ghana fair and square.

      • Shakira says:

        It may have not but it had the possibility to take the US out of the tournament. Yes the US progressed but it Donovan had not scored that goal, his horrible call would have seen the US out of the WC.

  2. Ivan says:

    Jabulani was attrocious; thank you, Adidas, for ruining a tournament! The worst ball not only at the World Cup, but the worst ball in history!!!

    Every player in the world would have done what Suarez did. Why the hate???

    And, yes, Paul the Octopus is the greatest Octopus EVER!

  3. mido says:

    Where is the uruguay?

  4. Stacy Richardson says:

    Could you please edit this piece? Things like “South Africa walking out” are ambiguous; a team that won only one of its “fourth” games? Get another pair of eyes to look at your stuff before you put it online, please.

    • Dave B. says:

      The only thing worse than typos are people who feel the need to blast others who make honest mistakes. Typos happen. Get over it ;-)

      • Duke says:

        Typos are one thing. This entire article needs editing, badly. Often, the writer’s meaning is lost in poorly constructed sentences and misspellings.

        Also, can we put the World Cup behind us, already? Club season is warming up, the WC is old news.

  5. Stacy Richardson says:

    And it’s “fait accompli,” not “fiat . . .” I could have listed another dozen problems with the piece.

  6. aol says:

    Watching a few games immediately after the World Cup has ended has truly showcased how bad the Jabulani ball was. After three weeks of seeing that thing fly 30+ rows into the stands on regular shots and seeing countless longballs and crosses travel out of play, I was relieved and surprised to see Paul Scholes send long passes that hit the ground and don’t bounce out of play so that wingers can get to balls along the sideline. That ball, to me, makes me feel like everything that happened in the WC was irrelevant…it allowed average teams to play at the same level as much better ones.

    • Ivan says:

      Agreed. I caught a couple of MLS games this weekend and I was thinking…”hmmm…we have a normal ball for a change…”
      What a disgrace by Adidas, brining that abomination Jabulani…they must not be allowed to ruin another World Cup again!

      • EastTerracer says:

        In fact, MLS has been using the Jabulani ball (with slightly different colouring) since the start of this season. Kasey Keller did some commentary work for ESPN at the Celtic-Seattle friendly yesterday and spent a couple of minutes explaining how horrible it is to play with the ball on a weekly basis.

    • Mitch says:

      It`s not the Jabulani`s fault that Scholes didn`t play in South Africa.

      • aol says:

        You misread the example. There were a ton of players that we watch regularly in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, etc. that normally connect on passes that couldn’t do so anywhere near as well in the WC because of the ball. Even in MLS games these last two weeks or in the friendlies for teams liek United, Spurs, Celtic and so on, you could tell there was a huge difference with the ball and its impact or lack thereof compared to WC games. Tarnished everything that happened in my eyes.

        • Mitch says:

          “Even in MLS games these last two weeks or in the friendlies for teams liek United, Spurs, Celtic and so on, you could tell there was a huge difference with the ball and its impact or lack thereof compared to WC games. ”

          Are you sure they used a different ball…As far as I know the Jabulani is used in the MLS (and possibly said friendlies)…

          For me the Jabulani is just an excuse. In the end the best teams made it to the latter stages of the World Cup and the average teams didn`t.

  7. Dave B. says:

    You have to wonder how much of Italy’s defensive failures were a result of Gigi going down in the first game.

    As for the ball, its amazing to me there aren’t tougher rules and regulations around what the ball can and cannot be – especially in regard to things like the seams between pieces of the ball and the shape of each of the panels.

  8. Javier Osorio says:

    Lord Triesman may have bee right after all about the Spanish. Sid lowe covers the miracle of Del Bosque in the beyondthepitch.net podcast

  9. fsquid says:

    Sepp Blatter won’t introduce the goal line technology until his extended family members buy the companies involved. We know this will be an above tender transaction.

  10. Ringo says:

    It’s “Jabulani”, France doing horribly is a good thing, and Luis Suarez is a hero.

  11. CR7 says:

    “Hand of God II” is Bad?

    You’re off your rocker.

  12. Eric says:

    Spare me the Spanish fanboyism in this post. Pathetic.

  13. Gaz Hunt says:

    I somewhat agree with Eric here.

    The Spanish played their way and the Dutch played their way. Neither is better nor worse than the other. People have been tricked into thinking the Spanish style of football is the “true” or “pure” way to play. Rubbish.

    The Italians (and many others) always play like this and are heralded as a beautiful, pragmatic, defensively-strong side. Why is it so different because it’s the Dutch? I know they historically haven’t played like this before but they also historically don’t make it to the final. Let the coach decide how he wants his team to play (within the rules of course) and leave the moralizing out.

    “…to truly expect a game-plan to hack and saw your way to winning a World Cup is only going to end in tears once you become restricted to 10-men…”

    Like Inter Milan won the Champion’s League?

  14. This article is embarrassing. The slew of misguided opinions aside, if you can’t be bothered to know how to spell, or even to double-check yourself on Google, I can’t be bothered to read it seriously.

  15. RVPFan says:

    Hello Marshall, why are you singling out Van Bommel and Dutch players when all we saw in this World Cup were pathetic play acting and stupid fouls all over? Please take your biased lens off and see things from both perspective. Spanish players weren’t exactly the “role-models” that you make them to be. They were shamelessly diving around the pitch and fouling too. If Holland would have been 8 men down, Spain should have been 9 men down too. Ex. Iniesta, Puyol. This is yet another attempt of biased reporting in EPLTalk.

  16. Caroline says:

    World Cup 2010 , some lets me down, I most like Brazil team, don’t get champion ,Argentina to defeat the Germanin ,Spain won the championship, These are my surprise

  17. Marshall Norbal says:

    Hello everyone,

    first I would like to apologise re the post! Hands up if there are errors, and thank you Stacy to pointing them out. All part of handling criticism and becoming a better writer.

    RVPFan, your right Spain weren’t Angels, as for many other teams but VanBommel for me crossed the line and that’s why I singled him out.

    Re Inter winning the Champions League I think you also need to consider what they had going forward as well in Milito and Sneijder.

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