Spain triumphed in the end, though they could have played a little more attacking football in the tournament. Though Netherlands also had their chances in the final, Spain played better and looked more civilised in an unusually rough match for a final. Iniesta crowned a glorious goal off the pass of our own Fabregas who played in the final,although only for a few minutes. Iniesta, Xavi, Villa, Casillas all had a good tournament and capped their european victory with the World Cup. A generation of young players are coming through and they will be strong favourites for the next Euros too.
South African hospitality
First of all, credit to South Africa for hosting a glitch free tournament. The vuvuzelas were maddening, but were unique to this edition of the World Cup and will be remembered for a long time to come. The crowds could have come out in more numbers, but nevertheless, it was a class act for this African country. Their team also did decent for their capabilities though they became the first host nation not to qualify for the 2nd round. But, well done South Africa! The 64 matches produced 145 goals at an avg of 2.26 per game. Not bad.
Yet again, the Germans finished 3rd in a tournament in which they played well. They scored four each against a fighting Australia, a pathetic England and a out-of -sorts Argentina, who were brilliant till they reached that stage. The set of youngsters in this team will be the biggest challengers to the Spanish team in the next Euros. Klose scored in the World cup as usual, but it was his striking partner, Mueller, who stole the show with his scoring as well as assists. Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger were superb and the back four and goalie were solid till their semifinals. The best thing about this team is the way they play, the attacking style was one of the best in this World Cup. Hope Leow will keep up the tempo and they will deservedly win a tournament soon.
Forlan – The MVP
It is very rare to find strikers who are good with both feet, who can score from free-kicks and who lead their team by example. Diego Forlan is one such gem of a player and rightfully the most valuable player of this World Cup. He was instrumental in taking his team to the semifinals. He was ably assisted by a team which wanted to make a point at the world stage. Uruguay was an example of team spirit and not of individual stars.
South American Dominance
With South America contributing 4 teams in the quarter finals, questions were raised about the continental berth allocations by
FIFA. For once the Europeans took a backseat, though they crowded the semi-final stage, by upstaging some of the European teams, teams from South America, especially Uruguay and Paraguay have shown to the world that there are teams other than Brazil and Argentina who can hold the South American torch. Not to mention, Mexico and USA who both had a commendable show in this World Cup.
Slovakia, US, Japan, Korea and the undefeated New Zealand
There were a few teams which impressed me from the low-ranked teams in this World Cup. Slovakia is right there for fighting it out against the mighty Italians and beating them. Credit also to US to put on a gutsy performance despite being disappointed. The Asian teams Japan and Korea got to the second round and played decent football, I am sure there is a lot that these two teams have learned which will go a long way in the progress of their country’s football. And New Zealand was the only undefeated team in this edition of the World Cup. How strange is that?
Brazil and Argentina – Two different styles, both succumb
Argentina and Brazil were the favourites when the World Cup started. Both playing under ex-players, Brazil under the defensive minded Dunga and the Argentinians under the great Maradona. Argentina was definitely the more attractive side with a full out attack and a very bad defence. Brazil looked rock solid till about 60 minutes into their match against Holland and then they lost the plot to some brilliance from the Dutch. The Argentinians were ripped apart by the skillful Germans, no complaints on that.
Italy disappoint and France degrade
Last years finalists crashed out of the World Cup in the group stage itself. Italians didn’t look like they had a good team in the first place and age caught up with them. France had all sorts of problems even before the World Cup started. Differences with the coach and his staff, players boycotting training and what not. It was a shame to see this team wither away like this. Now that Henry and Gallas and co have all had their last match in a French jersey, hope some sense will prevail and a new generation of players will take over. All the best to Laurent Blanc.