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The 2010 FIFA World Cup

The 2010 FIFA World Cup

The 2010 FIFA World Cup proved to be a tournament of firsts the competition was held on African soil for the first time whilst European Champions Spain clinched their maiden World Cup trophy.

Group Stage

The hosts South Africa kicked off the tournament with a 1 1 draw against Mexico who qualified from Group A with Uruguay as France, ravaged by infighting, finished bottom with just one point.

The United States claimed top spot in Group C above England as the one time champions struggled through their group games. The highlight moment came when England goalkeeper Robert Green blundered to let a weak Clint Dempsey shot trickle into the net.

In Group E, the Netherlands showed their intent by storming to three victories out of three in a group containing Japan, Denmark and Cameroon.

Underdogs New Zealand were unbeaten in Group F whilst Italy slumped to the bottom of the group with just two points but it was Paraguay and Slovakia who qualified.

Gelson Fernandes struck for Switzerland as they stunned Spain on the first match day in Group H but the European Champions recovered to top the group and set up a clash with neighbors Portugal in the second round.

Last 16

Ghana held African hopes in the last 16 and they delighted the home continent with an extra time 2 1 victory against the United States. Asamoah Gyan was Ghana hero with a 93rd minute goal.

Germany were in impressive form beating England 4 1 as young attacker Thomas Muller scored a brace.

Wesley Sneijder was the Dutch hero as they overcame a stubborn Slovakian side to set up a quarter final clash with Brazil who comfortably beat South American rivals Chile 3 0.

Uruguay and Ghana served up a match full of drama and controversy. The African side dominated and went ahead at the end of the first half thanks to midfielder Sulley Muntari. Diego Forlan, who finished the tournament as joint top scorer, drew Uruguay level in the second half, which sent the match into extra time. In the last minute, Luis Suarez handled a goal bound header on the line which gave Gyan the chance to make history but he struck the crossbar with the resulting penalty. Uruguay won the penalty shoot out 4 2.

Argentina, boasting Barcelona star Lionel Messi, were thrashed 4 0 by Germany who had veteran striker Miroslav Klose in form as he bagged two goals.

Spain again sneaked through with a 1 0 victory against Paraguay thanks to another goal from Villa. The win marked the Mediterranean nation progression to their first semi final since 1950.

Semi s

Giovanni van Bronckhorst gave the Netherlands an early lead over Uruguay with a 35 yard strike until Forlan leveled before half time. The Dutch pulled clear in the second half thanks to goals from Sneijder and Arjen Robben to progress to the final.

It was a dogged affair and in keeping with their run to the final, Spain again triumphed 1 0.

Nigel de Jong was lucky to not see red for a kung fu like kick on Xabi Alonso, whilst Dutch defender John Heitinga was sent off in the second period of extra time.

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta scored the winning goal following a flowing passing move just five minutes before a penalty shoot out to secure their first ever World Cup trophy.

2014 FIFA World Cup draw not kind to England

2014 FIFA World Cup draw not kind to England

London: Roy Hodgson conceded England face a daunting task to qualify for the knock out stages of the World Cup after being drawn in one of the strongest groups at next year’s tournament in Brazil. (Read: Spain, Netherlands drawn together for 2014 FIFA World Cup)

Hodgson’s side were pitted against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D and the England coach could only manage a wry smile when he learnt his team’s fate while watching Friday’s draw in Costa do Sauipe.

Even more revealing was the reaction of English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke, who was seen shaking his head and drawing his finger across his neck in a cut throat gesture that suggested he has little confidence in England making it to the last 16.

Hodgson admitted he would have preferred an easier group, but claimed he had already prepared for the worst given the quality of so many of the 32 teams.

“It’s a tough group, there’s no doubt about that. In Italy and Uruguay it’s almost as though we have got two number one seeds in our group,” Hodgson told the BBC.

“Italy were very unlucky not to be seeded in the first eight. We know how good Italy are because we lost to them in the quarter finals at the Euros.

“There were not going to be many scenarios where we were going to be jumping for joy. It doesn’t surprise us.

“I suppose one positive is that we have only got one long trip, then the other two are in the same neck of the woods.”

Hodgson’s side will open their Group D campaign against Italy in the tropical heat of Manaus on June 14.

They then head to Sao Paulo to play Uruguay on June 19 and the final group fixture is against Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte on June 24.

Hodgson has already confirmed England will base themselves in Rio de Janeiro for the tournament.

Manaus is a five and a half hour flight from Rio and is located in the Amazonian rain forest, with 99 percent humidity.

On the plus side for England, it is just over 200 miles to Sao Paolo and less than 300 to Belo Horizonte, where they famously lost to the United States in a 1950 World Cup upset.

“The good thing is that we know each other and the other thing in our favour is that the game we have got in the north, where the conditions are going to be tough climatically, is against another European team so we are both going to be in the same boat,” Hodgson said of the Italy clash in Manaus.

“There were many scenarios when I would be thinking this is going to be very tough for us.

“To get one that is a bit tougher doesn’t surprise me at all because there is a lot of travelling to be done in most of the groups.

“Our great advantage is being based in Rio means we only have one long trip.”

Italy beat England on penalties in the Euro 2012 quarter finals, while a Uruguay team featuring Liverpool striker Luis Suarez will also pose a stern test.

The bookmakers were quick to give a downbeat verdict on England’s chances, with the team drifting from 25 1 to 40 1 to win the World Cup following the draw.

While many fear England will be up against it, Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney struck a defiant tone as he assessed the draw.

“If we want to be the best, we have to beat the best. Tough group but really looking forward to it! Roll on Brazil 2014!” Rooney said.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere followed Rooney’s upbeat stance and wrote on Twitter: “Tough group. But so what? If we want to win it we will have to play the best teams anyway.”

FIFA World Cup Soccer South Africa 2010 Germany Uruguay Battle for Third Place Paul Oracle Octopus

FIFA World Cup Soccer South Africa 2010 Germany Uruguay Battle for Third Place Paul Oracle Octopus

This weekends world cup fixtures will showcase the tussle between Group A and D on Saturday and Group E and Group H on Sunday. Funny but true that it is the first (Group A) and last (Group D)group of the first four groups (ABCD) and the first (Group E) and last group (Group H) of the last four groups that will be playing. So that leaves us with Saturday Groups A, D, E, and H. Today I officially decree that SADEH is short for South African Destiny Enthrones Holland.

Miroslav Klose summed it up best when he said that winning as a team is more important than establishing personal records during the world cup competition. Paul the oracle Octopus has selected Spain to beat Germany. However, predicting a winner is different from being the winner. It will indeed be a hotly contested game on a cold winters night in the nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. My gorgeous daughter will actually be attending the game; how I envy her context.

Never on a Sunday means that you have not made it to the final. The fact that Germany and Uruguay will be playing on Saturday does not mean that the game is of lesser value; just that it is the playoff for third and fourth place. I sincerely hope that that known villain and soccer handballer will not play in this game. He does not deserve a spot on the team. I think Uruguay will be better off without him.

Uruguay from Group A, drew with France, beat South Africa and Mexico, beat Korea and Ghana beat Ghana, was beaten by the Netherlands and so Uruguay plays on Saturday against Germany. Germany from Group D lost to Serbia, beat Australia and Ghana and lost to Spain and so Germany plays on Saturday against Uruguay.

It will indeed be a sad game as the nostalgia will finally dim. Folks will realize that all good things have to end. All the hype, all the rush, all the adrenalin, all the tension twill soon be over for the next four years. I would like to wish Brazil well as they prepare to host the next world cup in 2014. I am sure that they will take many lessons learned from us fun South Africans.

And then we turn our attention to Sunday. Wesley Sneijder says Holland from Group E must win against Spain from Group H because he wants his team to win. The form guide would indicate that Holland is the only unbeaten team to play this weekend. Right now I am more focused on the closing ceremony because my nerves just cannot take it anymore. I have no nails left and that includes toe nails.

No matter what you say, think or do with your vuvuzela, the giant vuvuzela on the unfinished highway in Cape Town has been certified by officials of Guinness as the biggest horn in the world. Some say the noise is a nuisance, others say it disturbs the birds others say it is just black noise.