Originally posted on World Cup Wonder.
The first ever World Cup to be held in Africa has taken over our lives for the last month, and South Africa had the honour of hosting it. Most websites will be covering the football, whereas tonight, we’re reviewing what we remember about the World Cup.
Come on, what else?! For the first week, people were moaning about the buzzing noise on the telly, but for South Africans, the vuvuzela is like an English football chant. It may be cheap, plastic and in horrific colours, but its going to be something that we will always recognise as something to do with this World Cup. And just for the record, I’ve LOVED the buzzing noise.
Well, someone had to mention them. How many teams have we had this tournament whose players haven’t shown up?! The 2006 finalists – France and Italy – both went out in the group stages; France having had a players revolt. England fell at the second round – a team who had been tipped for glory die a horrible death, after playing really badly in the group stages. Portugal also went down, after relying too heavily on Ronaldo. Even Brazil played really poorly – they were far too defensive and their players just weren’t good enough.
For the first couple of weeks, all the talk was about the football – the adidas Jabulani. It was slagged off and ripped to shreds – apparently it was far too round to play football. Well, would you rather it was oval?! Get a life – the ball has been fine, unpredictable, and great to watch in the air. So everyone can stop moaning now, and enjoy the reason this World Cup has been the best ever.
Did anyone expect Ghana to be seconds away from reaching the semi-finals? Did we expect to see Paraguay in the quarters? Uruguay coming 4th in the tournament?! There have been some top, top performances by each team, and it just goes to show that this World Cup has shown just how good Europe have been nurturing the players at these teams.
Are many players going to be remembered as making their name at this tournament? Yes. Plenty. Player of the tournament for me has to be Wesley Sneijder, of Holland. Scored a load of crucial goals, held the team together, passed the ball to create attacks, defended for his life – he’s been the full package. He’s closely followed by David Villa, of Spain. Now this bloke has just been signed by Barcelona for £34.1m. His value has shot up thanks to his terrific displays. Mesut Ozil has stamped his name on the map for his attacking displays. Diego Forlan scored some stunners and put himself back on the radar. There have been some brilliant performances.
I’ve never seen anything like it in terms of cheating. It’s incredible. The one that sticks out in my mind is Gabriel Heinze. He goes down on the line to gain a free-kick – a brush of the chest and he clutches his face. The ball ends up in the net, he wriggles on the floor, the goal is disallowed, and he’s up on his feet smiling. Its just been an absolute joke. Shocking.
How can we do a review and not mention the 10 stadiums used at this spectacle?! Every one of them is stunning in its own way. From Soccer City’s incredible terracotta colour, to the Moses Madibha arch, every stadium will stick in the memory for one reason or another.
Well, that was FIFA Boo-Boo #1. They made prices for the tickets too high for people to buy them. Then, just a month before the tournament begins, they slash them, and the South Africans begin to buy them in bulk. Apparently, according to Sepp Blatter, every game was ‘sold out’. Well, how come for the South Korea vs. Greece game there were 17,0000 empty seats?! Why not just give the tickets away to underprivileged kids so they get to witness the greatest show on earth?
As I said the other day, goal-line technology is bound to become the standard in the game now, thanks to the incidents we’ve seen. Frank Lampard’s goal that wasn’t given; Carlos Tevez being a good three yards offside and it not being spotted. It has to happen now, so it helps keep the game in the manner it should be played.
I think the one thing that will be in my mind forever is the support shown at this World Cup. We all know that South Africans just wanted to watch beautiful football, but I never expected them to support other teams once their beloved Bafana Bafana went out. Its been incredible to watch on the telly, and I cannot put into words just how wonderful it is to see how big an effect one football on a pitch with 22 other men can change lives forever.
By a mile, the best World Cup ever. Bring on Brazil 2014.