Posted by: Paul | July 11, 2010

End of the world (cup)

It’s the big day – the World Cup Final. Holland v Spain. Orange v Red.

I’ll post my final analysis (ha!) tomorrow, but for now I wanted to have a look back at what I think has been a great tournament. There’s been a lot of nay-saying, especially on Five Live this morning, that this tournament hasn’t been particularly good, and various commentators were on talking about how they couldn’t think of any outstanding moments or things for which South Africa 2010 will be remembered. Well sod them, because I had a great time and can think of loads.

Player of the tournament – For me, Miroslav Klose.
OK, so he’s not in the final, but the inspired performances from the German centre forward propelled his side right to the brink of glory – dispatching Argentina 4-0 along the way. That’s a heavier defeat than they even inflicted on England. What is likely to be his last World Cup will be fondly remembered in Germany I think. Silver medal – the entire Holland team, for playing like a team. England could learn an awful lot from the Dutch.

Comeback of the tournament – Diego Forlan
He many have flopped in the Premier League, but thanks to his outstanding international performances we may not have seen the last of him in England. Proof positive that if you’re within range, you should have a go!

Goal of the tournament – Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Holland v Uruguay
What a strike. It was a rocket. There was much criticism about the way the Jabulani ball could divert in the air, and a few outstanding long-range strikes including Tshabalala’s in the opening game, but unless anything amazing happens tonight this one was the pick of the bunch. Close second – Maicon, Brazil v North Korea. But only because no-one will ever know if he intended that acute angle cross-shot to go in!

Miss of the tournament – Asamoah Gyan, Ghana v Uruguay
There were some phenomenally bad misses in this World Cup and perhaps it’s a little unfair for me to pick a missed penalty, but this was the kick which lost Ghana the game and gave the cheating, handballing-off-the-line Uruguayans safe passage to the semi finals and their eventual 4th place. I know there’s a lot of pressure but I’m pretty sure even I could score a simple penalty… Easy for me to say eh?

Match of the tournament – Ghana v Uruguay.
This was the heartbreaker. Africa’s dreams were stolen by a South American called Suarez. But what preceeded it was an outstanding game of football that was dramatic right through 120 minutes and into penalties. The most controversial game was also the most gripping one.

Shock of the tournament – New Zealand 1-1 Italy
I remember laughing hysterically throughout about the last half an hour of this game, thinking “they’re going to do it!” And in the end the Kiwis were actually robbed – rather than drawing against the World Champions they should have won. Still, at least it was responsible for the embarrassment of Italy finishing bottom of Group F.

Special Mention for Poetic Justice (call it the ‘Thierry’ award) – France.
Enough said really 😉

Mistake of the tournament – Robert Green, England and Jorge Larrionda, Referee (joint winners).
This one balances itself out. Robert Green’s horrendous mistake set the tone for England’s whole campaign, littered with disappointment. And it finished in as frustrating fashion for the players as that in which it had begun for the fans, as Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda failed to see that Frank Lampard’s potentially game-changing goal against Germany had crossed the line by two whole feet.

If you’ve read any of my other posts about the World Cup, thanks for visiting! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little round up – would love to hear your opinions on my highlights. And fingers crossed for a cracking final tonight that such a great sporting spectacle deserves. Now where did I leave my Vuvuzela?

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