2010 FIFA World Cup: Top 25 Disappointments from South Africa
Six weeks of slides
And my brain is fried
So now it's time
For a little rhyme
Here's one more list
For your World Cup fix
Top 25 dis-
No. 25 - Early Games
I know it had to do with local times in South Africa, but here on the West Coast, the early games kicked off at 4:30 in the morning!
I missed every one of them.
Even the "late" matches, which started at 11:30 a.m., still seemed a tad early when it came to meeting up with friends at the pub on the weekend.
Suffice to say, I'm looking forward to 2014 since Brazil is only an hour ahead of New York, which means many games will take place during prime time hours.
No. 24 - Too Many Draws
Don't quote me on this, but there had to be a record number of draws in South Africa.
14 of the group matches ended in a tie—which represents almost a third of the 48 games played—and two matches in the knockout stages went to a penalty shootout, which go down in the record books as draws.
This was a blow to soccer in the U.S., given that one of the most common complaints about the sport by Americans is the fact that a match can end without a clear winner.
No. 23 - The So-Called Group of Death
Two of those ties came in this year's so-called group of death.
They were both goalless draws on top of it, the most unexciting of matches for the spectator, so I don't fault my fellow Americans for being turned off by them.
And Portugal and was involved in both of them, against Brazil and Ivory Coast, which should have been two of the best group matches.
No. 22 - Ivory Coast
I still don't know why Sven-Göran Eriksson opted to play for a draw against Portugal in their opening match.
Not only did it rob fans of what should have been an exciting match, but had Ivory Coast defeated a Portugal side that barely qualified for the World Cup Finals, the Elephants probably would have advanced to the Round of 16 instead of Portugal.
And what was up with the dive that got Kaka sent off at the end of their match with Brazil, especially when it was in Ivory Coast's best interest to have Brazil at full strength in their next match with Portugal?
No. 21 - Animal Kingdom Steals the Show
When an octopus correctly predicts the winner for all seven of Germany's matches as well as the final, it kind of negates the need for ESPN analysts.
No. 20 - No Infamous Headbutts
We'll forever remember Zidane's infamous headbutt from 2006, but will have to settle for Nigel De Jong's soccer martial arts instead.
"Everybody was Kung Fu fighting!"
No. 19 - Jabulani Fuss
Perhaps Adidas should stop messing with the ball, but I for one am sick of hearing about it during every major tournament.
I didn't hear Diego Forlan or Golden Boot winner Thomas Müller complaining about the Jubulani, so why is everyone else?
Can we just focus on the game please?
No. 18 - Argentina's Elimination
This is a disappointment in that Lionel Messi still does not have a World Cup, which makes it pretty hard to consider him Diego Maradona's successor.
Fortunately, he's only 23 and still has a couple more chances left.
No. 17 - Brazil Can No Longer Boast
Ahead of South Africa, Brazil had won the World Cup on every continent in which the competition had been staged.
Since 2010 marked the first time the tournament was held in Africa, this is no longer the case.
And Seleção won't get a chance to reclaim their previous distinction until the next time the World Cup comes to Africa, which won't be for another 12 years at least, and most likely even longer than that.
No. 16 - France’s Wasted Potential
On paper, France had one of the most talented rosters in South Africa: Thierry Henry, Patrice Evra, Nicolas Anelka, Florent Malouda, and Franck Ribéry as well as Arensal teammates William Gallas, Bacary Sagna, and Abou Diaby.
Ribéry and Malouda both had phenomenal club seasons as well.
But poor coaching and infighting only proved that it takes more than a squad full of superstars to win games; it takes a team.
No. 15 - Poor Officiating
I don't usually complain about officiating.
Humans make mistakes, life isn't fair, and you can't blame the entire outcome of a game on a single call.
But there seemed to be an unusually high number of bad calls in South Africa, so it's worth noting.
No. 14 - FIFA’s Old Geezers
I'm still not sold on instant replay in world football for fear that it will disrupt the free-flowing nature of the beautiful game.
But there's no reason why FIFA shouldn't embrace goal-line technology, especially in the wake of Frank Lampard's beautiful strike versus Germany in the Round of 16.
As you can see from the photo, the ball obviously crossed the line but the officials did not award the goal to England.
No. 13 - England
England is another squad who looked good on paper yet failed to impress in South Africa.
A huge blunder gifted USA a crucial equalizer in their opening match, their goalless draw with Algeria made watching paint dry seem like fun by comparison, and I think Paul the Orakel Octopus paid them to take a dive against Germany.
Then again, all of my English mates have come to expect this from their Three Lions.
No. 12 - FIFA Makes a Fuss
What's not to love about a group of hot Holland fans in matching orange miniskirts?
Nothing at all, but that didn't stop FIFA from making a fuss.
The entire incident was an ambush marketing ploy orchestrated by Dutch beer company Bavaria which rubbed FIFA the wrong way since Bavaria was not the official beer sponsor of the 2010 World Cup.
And FIFA gave Bavaria the free publicity they were after by making a big deal of the incident, while showing fans that FIFA seems to care more about money than football.
No. 11 - A Lack of Skin
I'm not saying that countries in the Southern Hemisphere shouldn't be allowed to host the World Cup, but when it's winter time where the competition is held, don't expect hot fans to show as much skin as they have in the past.
No. 10 - Paraguay's Elimination
Paraguayan lingerie model Larissa Riquelme pledged to run through the streets naked if Paraguay won the World Cup.
But they didn't so she didn't.
No. 9 - Top Players Stumble
On one hand, I loved seeing the cocky Cristiano Ronaldo fall flat on his face in South Africa, but he wasn't the only star player who failed to impress.
Wayne Rooney, Fernando Torres, Leo Messi, and Kaka did not score a single goal between them (and Ronaldo only scored one).
This means fans missed out on seeing a lot of beautiful football that is usually typical of the World Cup.
No. 8 - Nigeria
Nigeria failed to win a single match in South Africa.
They were leading Greece 1-0 in their second match until Sani Kaita got himself sent off, earning the distinction of being the only Nigerian ever to receive a red card in the World Cup.
This was sad because many fans, like myself, would have liked to see more African teams in the knockout stages at the first World Cup held in Africa.
No. 7 - Ghana misses PK
Six African teams competed in the 2010 World Cup and Ghana was the only one that advanced to the knockout stages.
Their victory over USA made them only the third African nation to play in the quarterfinals, and almost became the first to ever make it to the semis.
But Luis Suarez saved what would have been the match-winning goal with an intentional handball in the closing minutes of extra time.
Suarez was sent off and Asamoah Gyan missed the spot kick, sending the match into a penalty shootout, which Uruguay won.
No. 6 - Suarez Bashers
Granted, it was sad to see what should have been Ghana's match-winning goal cleared off the line by an illegal handball, but Luis Suarez was sent off per the laws of the game.
His suspension also made him unavailable for Uruguay's semifinal loss to the Netherlands, a match they might have won had Suarez been available.
Here's the bottom line: If Gyan makes the penalty kick, the entire thing becomes a non-issue, which means Suarez is undeserving of all the flak that's come his way.
No. 5 - Vuvuzela Haters
I thought the plastic horn’s pleasant drone gave the 2010 World Cup a distinct African flavor and served as a unique memory from this year’s competition that other tournaments have lacked.
To all the vuvuzela haters: as far as I'm concerned, the kids in the picture are tooting a big boo in your general direction.
No. 4 - South Africa Not Advancing
South Africa became the first host nation in World Cup history to be eliminated in the group stage.
At least they finished on a high point with a nice 2-1 victory over France.
No. 3 - Poor Sportsmanship
This is a shot of Wayne Rooney getting salty in front of the camera after being booed by the English fans in their goalless draw with Algeria.
Cristiano Ronaldo even spit at the camera following Portugal's elimination in the Round of 16.
I hate to sound like a cliche, but as role models, this is not the kind of example these guys should be setting for their young fans.
No. 2 - USA Conceding Early Goals
The United States had a lot to be proud of in South Africa.
They played with heart and finished first in their group for the first time since the inaugural 1930 World Cup, but conceding early goals ultimately proved to be their downfall.
The Yanks managed to bounce back from them versus England and Slovenia, but USA's luck finally ran out against Ghana in the Round of 16 when they allowed Asamoah Gyan to score three minutes into extra time.
No. 1 - The Final Match
For starters, I would have liked to see a South American-European showdown, but I would have settled for anything that featured more than a single goal that didn't come until the 116th minute.
The Netherlands also played a very physical game that Spain made even uglier with all their shameless dives.
The final should be one of the most exiting matches of the tournament, but this proved to be one of the worst.