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
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
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
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
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.