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The first ever African FIFA World Cup

South Africa FIFA World Cup: The First Ever African Tournament

The year 2010 might not seem that long in the 160-year history of football. Indeed 12 years isn’t a long time in the 92-year history of the FIFA World Cup. But it took 80 of those 92 years for football’s greatest tournament to make its way to the continent of Africa. And when we got there, we were treated to a tournament we’ll never forget, the South Africa FIFA World Cup.

But back in South Africa, there was a new name on the trophy.

Before the South Africa FIFA World Cup got underway, we weren’t short of controversy. Firstly – as always seemed to be the case when Sepp Blatter was at the helm of world football’s governing body – there were allegations.

Secondly, there were ethical question marks raised. But with one thumping strike from the left boot of South African winger Siphiwe Tshabalala and Peter Drury’s words ringing in our ears, all was forgotten, and the curtain had well and truly been raised.

south africa flag

Football’s biggest showpiece once again comes to our screens in just under two months’ time, and Oddschecker – which compares odds and provides free offers on the World Cup – has made Brazil the favorites to lift the famous gold trophy for the sixth time.

Group Stages Of South Africa FIFA World Cup

Unfortunately, the hosts couldn’t hold on to securing victory in that opening game.

Despite Tshabalala’s rocket giving South Africa a second-half lead over Mexico, former Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez managed to bundle home an equalizer that meant the spoils were shared.

It would go from bad to worse for Bafana Bafana in their second game when Diego Forlan’s double consigned them to defeat against Uruguay.

The story of Group A was the demise of France. The 2006 finalists were in disarray. Manager Raymond Domenech sent home star striker Nicolas Anelka, and his squad revolted. As a result, they finished bottom of Group A at South Africa FIFA World Cup with just one point to their name.

Italy, who defeated Les Bleus in Berlin four years before lifting the trophy for the fourth time in their history, was also enduring difficulties. They could only manage draws against Paraguay and New Zealand in their opening two games, meaning they had to defeat Slovakia to progress to the last 16.

But they couldn’t even manage that. A Robert Vittek double gave the Slovaks a 3-1 lead as the game entered its final stages. After that, not even Fabio Quagliarella’s goal of the tournament contender was enough to keep the Azzurri in the competition. The 3-2 defeat meant they bowed out in the group stages of the South Africa FIFA World Cup.

south africa players dancing

The Knockout Rounds

There was one team that shone brighter than the others during the knockout stages, and that was Germany. Entering the tournament, Die Mannschaft wasn’t considered one of the tournament favorites, despite their pedigree in years.

Their squad was a team in transition, with young stars such as Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller, Sami Khedira, and Manuel Neuer all playing in their first-ever major tournament. But in the last 16, Germany announced their arrival on the global stage.

In the second round, they were drawn against old rivals England, who had stumbled their way through the group stages.

Goals from Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski meant that the Germans raced into a two-goal lead, and a slice of luck in the form of Frank Lampard’s controversial ‘Ghost Goal’ not being given by the match officials left the Three Lions wide open in the second half.

A Thomas Muller double would secure a 4-1 victory. Then, they were at it again in the quarter-finals, thumping Argentina 4-0. They would run into Spain in the semifinals of the South Africa FIFA World Cup, though, and Carles Puyol’s second-half header sent the Germans packing and Spain on to the Johannesburg showpiece.

In the other half of the draw, Uruguay made themselves public enemies number one after the hand of Luis Suarez denied Ghana the chance of becoming Africa’s first-ever World Cup semifinalist. Instead, they would fall to the Netherlands in the semifinals, setting up an all-European final.

andres iniesta with world cup trophy

The South Africa FIFA World Cup Final

The final between La Roja and the Oranje was a war. English referee Howard Webb had his work cut out, dishing out thirteen yellow cards and one red card. But in the end, the class of Spain prevailed, with Andres Iniesta rifling home a 116th-minute winner to secure a first-ever FIFA World Cup trophy for Spain at the South Africa FIFA World Cup.

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