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Stars Soccer Review (SSR) Magazine

Spain wins 2010 World Cup South Africa

Spain defeated Netherlands to win its first ever FIFA World Cup at Soccer City in Johannesburg on Sunday July 11, after Andres Iniesta scored the games only goal in the 116th-minute of overtime.

Although Spain was the better team, it was Netherlands Arjen Robben who missed two break-away, one in the second half and the other in overtime, that would have put the Dutch in control of the match in spite of Spain’s advantage.

But it was Spain which capitalized on Netherlands John Heitinga ejection from his second yellow (red), which left the Dutch short-footed. With more space to exploit, Andres Iniesta received a pass unmarked and delivered a low half volley to give Spain the 1-0 win.

 It was a nail biter of a game, as referee Howard Webb of England, handed out 14 yellow cards before the game was over. It was quite obvious that it was just a matter of time before a red card would be shown.

 There were a lot more memorable moments at the 2010 World Cup than referee Webb’s officiating efficiency. The warmth and courtesy shown by South African people, even in the cold of winter, stood out for me.

Sport really unifies all people, and although it was a competition where the intensity was at its highest, the atmosphere was of friendship. The Africans kept the killer bees sound of the Vuvuzelas beaming, which is a beautiful thing when played together, unlike the criticism.

After 64 games at the 2010 World Cup, it took Spain 31 days to prevail over the 31 teams. With 145 goals scored, Spain won the World Cup by scoring 8 goals, the lowest amount for a champion in the history of the tournament, next to 11 by Brazil (94) and England (66).

To win with minimum output equates to a good defense and/or superb goalkeeping. Captain Iker Casillas was up to the task and won the Adidas Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper. He came up with big saves with no bigger than his 2 stops on Dutch nifty striker Arjen Robben.

Like life, sport could also be cruel at times, as Coach Bert van Marwijk's men won all six of their games and was second in scoring to Germany. But the memory of losing their last game to Spain will linger on, until the Dutch win a World Cup to outweigh their 3rd loss at the final

The African spirits are high, since South Africa held Mexico 1-1 in the opener, and beat France 2-1 after falling 3-0 to Uruguay. But Mexico’s superior goal difference was the wedge that kept Bafana from advancing.

 Ivory Coast finished with a strong 3-0 win over Korea DPR after losing to Brazil 3-1 and tying with Portugal 0-0 in their opener. But like their good Bafana neighbors, they too fell short on goal difference to Portugal.

Ghana’s was the life and light of the African party. But after making it to the quarter finals, their elimination from the tournament will be a hot top in the coming years, because to me the integrity and rules of football are being abused by the guilty parties who are benefiting.

Germany lost to Spain remains a mystery although they finished third as they did in 2006. They were the top scoring team with 16-goals and forward Thomas Muller won both the Hyundai Best Young Player and the Adidas Golden Boot Award with his five goals and three assists

Villa, Sneijder and Diego Forlan also scored five goals but fall short of Muller three assist. Uruguay under Coach Oscar Tabarez's reached the semi-finals for the first time in 40 years, and Diego Forlan won the Adidas Golden Ball which was well deserved, since he was undoubtedly the best player at the world Cup.

In Retrospect, Germany, Brazil, and Argentina looked good to go after Spain’s opening loss to Switzerland, but defending champion Italy and France struggles continued and they were gone after the group stage.

Joining them were the African hopefuls and England, Portugal, Brazil and Argentina. But it was Argentina’s coach Maradona and Brazil coach Dunga's inexperience that struck me. In hindsight, it seem like they were destine to fail.

Dunga was convinced that he was changing Brazil’s football philosophy to a defensive style of play, while Maradona was running off at the mouth in areas where coaches do not venture. He was bragging that Argentina players were the best in the tournament.

As a result, the South Americans splash turned into an all-European affair, with Uruguay as the only South America team prepared to go the distance. Spain, the tournament favorite was still around and the rest is history. Six wins in their matches, with the last four by 1-0 scores.

Now back to reality where the 2014 qualifiers is around the corner and host Brazil will have to tweak it resources for a marquee player. 










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