Thursday, 11 June 2020 marks the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Soccer World Cup held in South Africa.
The tournament, the first and still only occasion the African continent has hosted football’s global spectacle, united the country for a month of joy, heartbreak and all-round unforgettable memories.
Every South African old enough to remember, will recall ‘where they were’ the day Siphiwe Tshabalala’s wonder strike at the FNB Stadium stunned not only opponents Mexico, but the football world.
But what else do you recollect about the tournament?
- HOSTING ONLY OPEN TO AFRICAN COUNTRIES
Hosting rights to the 2010 tournament was only open to African countries. In 2004, FIFA chose South Africa over Egypt and Morocco to become the first African country to host the Soccer World Cup.
- STADIUMS AND CITIES
Ten stadia in nine cities hosted matches for the 32 qualified teams. Soccer City hosted both the opening match and the final.
- BAFANA BAFANA UPSET FRANCE
Many will forget that after drawing 1-1 with Mexico and losing 3-0 to Uruguay, Bafana Bafana upset the 1998 champions France 2-1 in the final Pool A clash at the Free State stadium thanks to goals from Bongani Khumalo and Katlego Mphela.
- SOUTH AFRICA MAKE UNWANTED HISTORY
Despite their heroic win over Les Bleus, Bafana Bafana became the first host nation to be eliminated in the first round of the tournament. Not alone, France and Italy joined South Africa in packing their bags before the second round knockout phase.
- ONLY ONE UNBEATEN TEAM
Good quiz question, only one team remained unbeaten in the tournament … and that was New Zealand who recorded three draws in their Pool F matches. Even eventual winners Spain lost to Switzerland in their group clash.
Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain was the only player to score a hat-trick in the tournament in Argentina’s 4-1 win over South Korea.
English referee Howard Webb was chosen to referee the final, making him the first person to referee both the Champions League final (Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich 2-0) and the World Cup final in the same year. South Africa had one referee (Jerome Damon) and one assistant referee (Enock Molefe) at the tournament.
- RECORD PRIZE MONEY
FIFA set aside $420 million to be awarded for the tournament. Each of the 32 teams received $1 million up front for preparation costs, while teams ousted in the group phase were paid $8 million. Spain walked away with a cool $30 million for emerging victorious.
- WINNERS SPAIN SET HOST OF RECORDS
Spain set a new record for the fewest goals scored by a Soccer World Cup-winning team, with eight. The previous record low was 11, set by Brazil in 1994, England in 1966 and Italy in 1938. Spain also had the fewest goalscorers for a champion as well (three – David Villa with five goals, Andres Iniesta with two and Carles Puyol with one). They also had the fewest goals conceded for a champion (2), equal with Italy (2006) and France (1998). Spain’s victory marked the first time that a team won the World Cup without conceding a goal in the knockout stage.
- GOLDEN BOOT
The four top scorers in the tournament had five goals each. The Golden Boot went to Thomas Muller of Germany who in addition had three assists, compared to one for the three others. The Silver Boot went to David Villa of Spain, who played a total of 635 minutes, and the Bronze Boot to Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands, who played 652 minutes. Diego Forlan of Uruguay had five goals and one assist in 654 minutes.
- OTHER AWARDS
Uruguay’s Diego Forlan was awarded the Golden Ball (player of the tournament), Spain’s Iker Casillas won the Golden Glove for best goalkeeper while Germany’s Thomas Muller scooped the Best Young Player award. Spain walked away with the Fair Play Trophy.
Source: Big News Network