Last Updated 09 | 06 | 2014 at 09:45

Sport

The 19th Edition - South Africa 2010

Article By:
Pierre Sciberras

The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010. The bidding process for hosting the tournament finals was open only to African nations; in 2004, the international football federation, FIFA, selected South Africa over Egypt and Morocco to become the first African nation to host the finals.

The matches were played in 10 stadiums in nine host cities around the country, with the final played at the Soccer City stadium in South Africa's largest city, Johannesburg. Thirty-two teams were selected for participation via a worldwide qualification tournament that began in August 2007. In the first round of the tournament finals, the teams competed in round-robin groups of four teams for points, with the top two teams in each group proceeding. These 16 teams advanced to the knockout stage, where three rounds of play decided which teams would participate in the final.

In the final, Spain, the European champions, defeated third-time finalists the Netherlands 1–0 after extra time, with Andrés Iniesta's goal in the 116th minute giving Spain their first world title, becoming the eighth nation to win the tournament, and the first European nation to win the tournament outside its home continent. Host nation South Africa, 2006 champions Italy and 2006 runners-up France were all eliminated in the first round of the tournament. It was the first time that the hosts were eliminated in the first round. New Zealand with their three draws were the only undefeated team in the tournament, but were also eliminated in the first round.

Africa was chosen as the host for the 2010 World Cup as part of a short-lived policy, abandoned in 2007, to rotate the event among football confederations. Five African nations placed bids to host the 2010 World Cup: Egypt, Morocco, South Africa and a joint bid from Libya and Tunisia.

Following the decision of the FIFA Executive Committee not to allow co-hosted tournaments, Tunisia withdrew from the bidding process. The committee also decided not to consider Libya's solo bid as it no longer met all the stipulations laid down in the official List of Requirements.

The winning bid was announced by FIFA president Sepp Blatter at a media conference on 15 May 2004 in Zürich; in the first round of voting South Africa received 14 votes, Morocco received 10 votes and Egypt no votes. South Africa, which had narrowly failed to win the right to host the 2006 event, was thus awarded the right to host the tournament. Having successfully campaigned for South Africa to be granted host status, an emotional Nelson Mandela raised the FIFA World Cup Trophy.

During 2006 and 2007, rumours circulated in various news sources that the 2010 World Cup could be moved to another country. Franz Beckenbauer, Horst R. Schmidt and, reportedly, some FIFA executives, expressed concern over the planning, organisation, and pace of South Africa's preparations. FIFA officials repeatedly expressed their confidence in South Africa as host, stating that a contingency plan existed only to cover natural catastrophes, as had been in place at previous FIFA World Cups.

The qualification draw for the 2010 World Cup was held in Durban on 25 November 2007. As the host nation, South Africa qualified automatically for the tournament. As happened in the previous tournament, the defending champions were not given an automatic berth, and Italy had to participate in qualification. With a pool of entrants comprising 204 of the 208 FIFA national teams at the time, the 2010 World Cup shares with the 2008 Summer Olympics the record for most competing nations in a sporting event.

Some controversies took place during the qualifications. In the second leg of the play-off between France and the Republic of Ireland, French captain Thierry Henry, unseen by the referee, handled the ball in the lead up to a late goal, which enabled France to qualify ahead of Ireland, sparking widespread controversy and debate. FIFA rejected a request from the Football Association of Ireland to replay the match, and Ireland later withdrew a request to be included as an unprecedented 33rd World Cup entrant. As a result, FIFA announced a review into the use of technology or extra officials at the highest level, but decided against the widely expected fast-tracking of goal-line referee's assistants for the South African tournament.

Costa Rica complained over Uruguay's winning goal in the CONMEBOL–CONCACAF playoff, while Egypt and Algeria's November 2009 matches were surrounded by reports of crowd trouble. On the subject of fair play, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said:

I appeal to all the players and coaches to observe this fair play. In 2010 we want to prove that football is more than just kicking a ball but has social and cultural value ... So we ask the players 'please observe fair play' so they will be an example to the rest of the world.

Slovakia was making their first appearance as an independent nations but had previously been represented as part of Czechoslovakia team that last played in the 1990 tournament. North Korea qualified for the first time since 1966; Honduras and New Zealand were both making their first appearances since 1982, and Algeria were at the finals for the first time since the 1986 competition.

Teams that failed to qualify for this tournament included Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Croatia, all of whom had qualified for the previous three finals; Sweden, Poland, and Ecuador, who had qualified for the previous two editions; and Euro 2008 semi-finalists Russia and Turkey.

Five new stadiums were built for the tournament, and five of the existing venues were upgraded. Construction costs were expected to be R8.4 billion (just over US$1 billion or €950 million).

South Africa also improved its public transport infrastructure within the host cities, including Johannesburg's Gautrain and other metro systems, and major road networks were improved. In March 2009, Danny Jordaan, the president of the 2010 World Cup organising committee, reported that all stadiums for the tournament were on schedule to be completed within six months.

The country implemented special measures to ensure the safety and security of spectators in accordance with standard FIFA requirements, including a temporary restriction of flight operation in the airspace surrounding the stadiums.

At a ceremony to mark 100 days before the event, FIFA president Sepp Blatter praised the readiness of the country for the event.

On 8 July 2009, 70,000 construction workers] who were working on the new stadiums walked off their jobs. The majority of the workers receive R2500 per month (about £192, €224 or US$313), but the unions alleged that some workers were grossly underpaid. A spokesperson for the National Union of Mineworkers said to the SABC that the "no work no pay" strike would go on until FIFA assessed penalties on the organisers. Other unions threatened to strike into 2011. The strike was swiftly resolved and workers were back at work within a week of it starting. There were no further strikes and all stadiums and construction projects were completed in time for the kick off.

The total prize money on offer for the tournament was confirmed by FIFA as US$420 million (including payments of US$40 million to domestic clubs), a 60 percent increase on the 2006 tournament. Before the tournament, each of the 32 entrants received US$1 million for preparation costs. Once at the tournament, the prize money was distributed as follows:
US$8 million – To each team eliminated at the group stage (16 teams) ($8.65 million in 2014 US dollars)
US$9 million – To each team eliminated in the round of 16 (8 teams) ($9.73 million in 2014 US dollars])
US$14 million – To each team eliminated in the quarter-finals (4 teams) ($15.14 million in 2014 US dollars)
US$18 million – Fourth placed team ($19.47 million in 2014 US dollars)
US$20 million – Third placed team ($21.63 million in 2014 US dollars)
US$24 million – Runner up ($25.96 million in 2014 US dollars])
US$30 million – Winner ($32.44 million in 2014 US dollars)

In a first for the World Cup, FIFA made payments to the domestic clubs of the players representing their national teams at the tournament. This saw a total of US$40 million paid to domestic clubs. This was the result of an agreement reached in 2008 between FIFA and European clubs to disband the G-14 group and drop their claims for compensation dating back to 2005 over the financial cost of injuries sustained to their players while on international duty, such as that from Belgian club Charleroi S.C. for injury to Morocco's Abdelmajid Oulmers in a friendly game in 2004, and from English club Newcastle United for an injury to England's Michael Owen in the 2006 World Cup.

The FIFA Organising Committee approved the procedure for the final draw on 2 December 2009. The seeding was based on the October 2009 FIFA World Ranking and seven squads joined hosts South Africa as seeded teams for the final draw. No two teams from the same confederation were to be drawn in the same group, except allowing a maximum of two European teams in a group.

The group draw was staged in Cape Town, South Africa, on 4 December 2009 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The ceremony was presented by South African actress Charlize Theron, assisted by FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke. The balls were drawn by English football star David Beckham and African sporting figures Haile Gebrselassie, John Smit, Makhaya Ntini, Matthew Booth and Simphiwe Dludlu.

As with the 2006 tournament, each team's squad for the 2010 World Cup consisted of 23 players. Each participating national association had to confirm their final 23-player squad by 1 June 2010. Teams were permitted to make late replacements in the event of serious injury, at any time up to 24 hours before their first game.

Of the 736 players participating in the tournament, over half played their club football in five European domestic leagues; those in England (117 players), Germany (84), Italy (80), Spain (59) and France (46). The English, German and Italian squads were made up of entirely home based players, while only Nigeria had no players from clubs in their own league. In all, players from 52 national leagues entered the tournament. FC Barcelona of Spain was the club contributing the most players to the tournament, with 13 players of their side travelling, 7 with the Spanish team, while another 7 clubs contributed 10 players or more.

In another first for South Africa 2010, one squad included three siblings. Jerry, Johnny and Wilson Palacios made history thanks to their inclusion in Honduras’ 23-man list. Unusually, the game between Germany and Ghana had two brothers playing for opposite nations, with Jerome Boateng and Kevin Prince Boateng playing respectively.

The first round, or group stage, saw the thirty-two teams divided into eight groups of four teams. Each group was a round-robin of six games, where each team played one match against each of the other teams in the same group. Teams were awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw and none for a defeat. The teams finishing first and second in each group qualified for the Round of 16.

The South American teams performed strongly, with all five advancing to the knockout stages (four as group winners), and four made the quarter-finals (the only team from South America to not make it this far was Chile, who lost to Brazil). The overall performance of African teams on the first occasion that the continent hosted the event was judged disappointing by observers such as Cameroon great Roger Milla. Of the six African nations only three won any matches (Ghana, South Africa and Ivory Coast), and only one (Ghana) progressed out of the first round. South Africa became the first host in FIFA World Cup history to not make it out of the group stage, finishing third in Group A behind Uruguay and Mexico, but ahead of France.

Only six out of 13 UEFA teams progressed to the last 16, a record low since the round of 16 was adopted in 1986. Both of the finalists from the preceding tournament, France and Italy, were eliminated in the initial stage of the competition, the first time this has happened at a World Cup (in 1934 and 1966, one of the previous finalists was eliminated in the first stage, but the other did not make the tournament). Surprisingly, New Zealand, a team projected by many to not attain a point in Group F, ended the tournament as the only undefeated team after drawing their three group matches, but they finished behind Paraguay and Slovakia and were eliminated.

Teams were ranked on the following criteria:
1. Greater number of points in all group matches
2. Goal difference in all group matches
3. Greater number of goals scored in all group matches
4. Greatest number of points in matches between tied teams
5. Goal difference in matches between tied teams
6. Greatest number of goals scored in matches between tied teams
7. Drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee

The knockout stage comprised the 16 teams that advanced from the group stage of the tournament. There were four rounds of matches, with each round eliminating half of the teams entering that round. The successive rounds were the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the final. There was also a play-off to decide third and fourth place. For each game in the knockout stage, any draw at 90 minutes was followed by thirty minutes of extra time; if scores were still level, there was a penalty shootout to determine who progressed to the next round.

In this round, each group winner (A-H) was paired against the runner-up from another group.
South American teams again performed strongly in the round of 16, with four teams advancing to the quarter-finals including Brazil who defeated fellow South American team Chile.
England's 4–1 loss to Germany was their biggest ever margin of defeat at a World Cup finals. It was also the first time that a World Cup finals match between these two traditional rivals had a decisive result in regulation time, their four previous meetings all being tied at 90 minutes, with two settled in extra time and one in a penalty shootout.
Ghana defeated the United States to become the third African team to reach the last eight (after Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002), and the only African team to have achieved both a top 8 finish and a separate top 16 finish (in 2006).
Paraguay and Ghana reached the quarter-finals for the first time.
The round was marked by some controversial referees' decisions, including:
A disallowed goal by England in their 4–1 loss against Germany, where the shot by Frank Lampard was seen to cross the goal line when shown on television broadcast replays.
An allowed goal by Argentina in their 3–1 win over Mexico, where Argentine striker Carlos Tevez was seen to be offside when shown on television broadcast replays, which were shown inside the stadium shortly after the incident.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter took the unusual step of apologising to England and Mexico for the decisions that went against them, saying "Yesterday I spoke to the two federations directly concerned by referees' mistakes. I apologised to England and Mexico. The English said thank you and accepted that you can win some and you lose some and the Mexicans bowed their head and accepted it. Blatter also promised to re-open the discussion regarding devices which monitor possible goals and make that information immediately available to match officials, saying "We will naturally take on board the discussion on technology and have the first opportunity in July at the business meeting. Blatter's call came less than four months after FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said the door was closed on goal-line technology and video replays after a vote by the IFAB.

The three quarter-finals between European and South American teams all resulted in wins for Europeans. Germany had a 4–0 victory over Argentina, and the Netherlands came from behind to beat Brazil 2–1, handing the Brazilians their first loss in a World Cup match held outside Europe (other than in a penalty shootout) since 1950 when Uruguay won the decisive match 2–1. Spain reached the final four for the first time since 1950 after a 1–0 win over Paraguay. Uruguay, the only South American team to reach the semi-finals, overcame Ghana in a penalty shoot-out after a 1–1 draw in which Ghana missed a penalty at the end of extra time.

The Netherlands qualified for the final for the third time with a 3–2 win over Uruguay. Spain reached their first ever final with a 1–0 victory over Germany. As a result, it was the first World Cup final not to feature at least one of Brazil, Italy, Germany or Argentina.

Germany defeated Uruguay 3–2 to secure third place. Germany holds the record for most third place finishes in the World Cup (4), while Uruguay holds the record for most fourth place finishes (3).

The final was held on 11 July 2010 at Soccer City, Johannesburg. Spain defeated the Netherlands 1–0, with an extra time goal from Andrés Iniesta. Iniesta scored the latest winning goal in a FIFA World Cup final (116'). The win gave Spain their first World Cup title, becoming the eighth team to win it. This made them the first new winner without home advantage since Brazil in 1958, and the first team to win the tournament after having lost their opening game.
A large number of fouls were committed in the final match. Referee Howard Webb handed out 14 yellow cards, more than doubling the previous record for this fixture, set when Argentina and West Germany shared six cards in 1986, and John Heitinga of the Netherlands was sent off for receiving a second yellow card. The Netherlands had chances to score, most notably in the 60th minute when Arjen Robben was released by Wesley Sneijder to be one-on-one with Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas, only for Casillas to save the shot with an outstretched leg. For Spain, Sergio Ramos missed a free header from a corner kick when he was unmarked. Iniesta finally broke the deadlock in extra time, scoring a volleyed shot from a pass by Cesc Fàbregas.

This result marked the first time that two different teams from the same continent had won successive World Cups (following Italy in 2006), and saw Europe reaching 10 World Cup titles, surpassing South America's nine titles. Spain became the first team since West Germany in 1974 to win the World Cup as European champions. The result also marked the first time that a European nation had won a World Cup Finals that was not hosted on European soil.

A closing ceremony was held before the final, featuring singer Shakira. Afterwards, the former South African President Nelson Mandela made a brief appearance on the pitch, wheeled in by a motorcart.

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