World Cup 2010 The Final Stages

As the curtain was drawn on the 2010 World Cup tournament we give you brief run down on the final stages of the 19th World Cup competition. In a tournament marked by refereeing controversies, relatively poor latter stage attendances and sadly, plenty of cynical play, it was indeed fitting that the winning team is a winner for the football world in that they play easy on the eye football and in the proper spirit. Viva Espãna!

Read on for more…

The Quarter Finals

The four quarter finals took place over the weekend of July 2nd and 3rd and the outcomes were as follows:

Netherlands v Brazil: The first of the quarter finals took place in Port Elizabeth and what a game it was. In one of the biggest shocks of the tournament, five times winners Brazil were dumped out of the tournament by the stoic Dutch team famed for their solid but unspectacular play. Trailing 1-0 at half time, an unfortunate own goal by Melo gave the strong Dutch a lifeline, and the impressive Wesley Sneijder headed in the winner from a corner kick. The Dutch were through to their first semi final since 1998, the out of sorts Brazil were sent home, and head coach Dunga lost his job.

Uruguay v Ghana: Drama and controversy to the fore here at Soccer City, after a pulstating 120 minutes of football both teams were level at 1-1 and neither deserved to lose. As the clock ticked down, the young Ghanian team who were carrying the hopes of the whole of Africa were awarded a late freekick. As the set piece floated into the box the resulting meleé resulted in an instinctive hand ball on the line from Uruguay forward Suaréz, stopping a certain goal. A red card followed for him, but the unfortunate Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty. Cue mad scenes of joy and despair and the referee signalled a penalty shootout. Despite redeeming himself in the shoot out by slotting home his own kick, Gyan could not inspire his team mates to vistory and Uruguay kept their cool to prevail 4-2 on penalties.

Argentina v Germany: Everybody was looking forward to this, with a repeat of the 2006 classic quarter final between the same two nations. What happened was a similar result but the difference was it was a one sided 4-0 romp for Germany. The outstanding and young German team destroyed Maradona’s team through a scintillating display of counter attacking football in Cape Town. The contrast in styles in this game was very interesting – Argentina rely on individual brilliance rather than team play. Germany are the total opposite. Their supreme team play makes individuals look brilliant within it’s framework, and this German team has won many admirers in South Africa, not least playmakers Ozil and Muller, and the heartbeat of the team Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Spain v Paraguay: In a game that was decorated with two missed penalties, overly fussy refereeing, and dour play was brightened up by a brilliant winner by Spain’s David Villa. The Spanish outfit had really picked up the pace after their early defeat to Switzerland. The freeflowing football of Euro 2008 it was not, but it was enough to control and dominate games, and provide enough penetration to get the single goal they needed to win outright.

The Semi Finals

Netherlands v Uruguay: An entertaining game that ended with being decided by two goals by the Dutch in three second half minutes. The final score was 3-2 to the men in Orange. Uruguay gave it a good go, and their last minute consolation prompted some worrying balls into the box for the Dutch defenders to endure, but they held out to make it to the World Cup Final. Uruguay produced some great moments, not least from mercurial forward Diego Forlán, but the Dutch got through with Robben and Sneijder outstanding.

Spain v Germany: One of the most eagerly awaiting clashes for many a year was ultimately decided by a headed Carlos Puyol goal in a 1-0 win for Spain. The Barcelona centre back and captain is a huge player for the Spain team. The Germany team were a pale shadow of the team that destroyed both England and Argentina, and to be fair the absence of the suspended Thomas Muller was a huge set back for Germany. Spain produced their best football of the tournament to make it through to the final in a one sider encounter.

Third Place Play Off

In an entertaining game, Germany beat Uruguay 3-2 to claim third place in South Africa, and win Bronze medals for the second tournament in a row. Thomas Muller scored in the German victory, and despite having the same number of goals scored as three other players (Forlán, Villa and Sneijder) Bayern Munich’s Muller won the 2010 World Cup golden boot as he had provided more goal assists than the other players.

The 2010 World Cup Final

The eagerly awaited World Cup Final kicked off at 20.30 CET on Sunday July 11th at the splendid Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. Whatever happened in the final meant that there would be a new winner of the most prestigious prize in international football, as neither country had won the World Cup before. Indeed this was Spain’s first final, while the Netherlands had been losing finalists in 1974 and 1978. 

What followed was without a doubt, to put it mildly, a disappointing 120 minutes of football, with poor refereeing, cynical play and cheating. Thankfully the final result ensured that the best team on the night had won the tournament outright. The Dutch team in particular won few friends for their physical approach to the final, and picked up plenety of yellow cards in the process and lost defender Heitinga to a red card during the extra time period. English referee Howard Webb came under scrutiny for the dishing out of 14 yellow cards during the game – in fairness to him he could have issued plenty more red cards than the one he did.

Despite Spain being by far the better outfit, the Dutch had possibly the best two chances of the game, as Arjen Robben was denied by the great goalkeeping of Spanish captain Iker Casillas. The game looked to be petering out to a penalty shoot out until a fine move involving Torres and Fabregas was finished beautifully by Andrés Iniesta. Fitting that a wonderful player scored the winning goal in the biggest final – nobody deserved it more. Delirous scenes of Spanish joy ensued after the final whistle signalling the end of extra time and a joyous end to the World Cup. Justice was done, and the best team has won the famous gold trophy, and adding to the European title this Spanish team won in 2008.

So, farewell to the World Cup for another four years. Nobody can say that the organization was not first class, and the largest and most prestigous sports event in the world passed off in South Africa very successfully. Viva Espãna!

Hope that you enjoyed our run down of the final matches in the 2010 World Cup. If you are planning on staying around in beautiful South Africa for a time, or heading out later this year, the best way to explore this enchanting nation is to hire a car. For the best deals around check out our South Africa car hire page.

What did you think of the 2010 World Cup? Were you impressed with the closing stages of the tournament? Let us know your thoughts – we would love to hear from you!