World Cup 2010
Host: South Africa
Third Place: Germany
Fourth Place: Uruguay
Top Goalscorer: Thomas Muller (Germany) – 5 Goals (David Villa, Diego Forlan and Wesley Sneijder also scored 5 goals)
Participants: 32 (Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Holland, Honduras, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, North Korea, Paraguay, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay, USA)
For the first time ever, the FIFA World Cup was held on the African continent, with South Africa having the honours of hosting the biggest football tournament in the world. The pre-tournament build up was all about the expected duel down the line between favourites Brazil and Spain. Spain, heading into the tournament as European champions had a lot of expectation to live up to as they went in search of their first ever World Cup title, looking as if this was going to be their best chance to ever land it. They delivered firmly on their favouritism, as Brazil took a shock quarter final exit against Holland.
It would be Holland who would go on to build on that result and make it all the way to the final of the 2010 World Cup. But in a strange turn of tactics, they abandoned everything that had gotten them that far, confident, flowing football and traded it all in for a defensive set up to try and break up the Spanish possession game. The Dutch didn’t do themselves any favours as they created little in the match, their one big moment coming when Arjen Robben wasted a one on one change with Spain’s keeper Iker Casillas. But the Dutch still managed to drag things to extra time without ever looking like winning it. They had John heitinga sent off too, in what was the most ill-disciplined World Cup Final ever. It was left to Andres Iniesta to bury the match and tournament winning goal for Spain with just four minutes left of extra time.
Another of the stronger teams in the field, Germany, played out an exciting conclusion to their campaign by taking third in a 3-2 win over Uruguay. The Germans had missed out on a place in the final, superbly being stifled by the Spanish in their semi final match up. As for Uruguay, they produced above and beyond what was expected of them, helped along by Luis Suarez clearing a goal-bound shot off the line with his hands at the close of extra time in their quarter final match against Ghana. Asamoah Gyan missed the spot kick, and Uruguay managed to get through to the semi finals in a shoot-out, where they then lost against the Netherlands. Uruguay became the record holders with the most fourth placed finished as the tournament (3). Germany incidentally, made it a record-holding four third place finishes with this result.
Slovakia made their first appearance at a World Cup as an independent nation, while North Korea were in the finals for the first time since back in 1966.
Holland 0 – Spain 1 – Soccer City, Johannesburg ~ 84,490
Spain – Iniesta
Third Place Play-Off:
Germany 3 – 2 Uruguay
Germany – Muller, Jansen, Khedira
Uruguay – Cavani, Forlan