South Africa: the World Cup in letters

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It’s over. Well done South Africa. Congratulations Spain. And here, using the letters of the host nation, is the first of our looks back on the 2010 tournament …

S

– Spain, worthy winners on the night, and just about overall, in a generally unimpressive event


O

– Make it the figure 0 and you have the number of goals scored by Wayne Rooney, Emile Heskey, Peter Crouch and (with a perfect excuse and alibi) Darren Bent.

U

Uruguay: good to see a smaller South American footballing nation outperform Brazil and Argentina, even if the semi-final place, won by Luis Suarez’s last-second handball and Ghana’s failure to convert the penalty, left a nasty taste in the mouth

T

Television coverage – at least where I am, enhanced by the intelligent voices of people like Emmanuel Petit and Arsène Wenge, even if the pantomime exasperation at Meester Webb’s failure to send off the entire Dutch team eventually grew wearing

H

Holland: blackest of marks for an unpleasantly physical approach to the final. Whatever happened to Total Football?

***** ***** ***** *****

A

another dismal World Cup showing by England, firmly putting us in our places

F

France, for the millionaire brats’ tantrums that made total lack of achievement under Raymond Domenech all the more shaming. But also for Diego Forlan of Uruguay, for many the player of the tournament

R

Ronaldo, Rooney and all the others, whatever initials they have, who flopped so comprehensively

I

Italy‘s place among the great also-rans, Iniesta’s winning goal in the final

C

Cristian Riveros, whose effective displays for Paraguay, along with those of his teammate Paulo da Silva and Ghana’s John Mensah, made it a good World Cup for Sunderland. Cheating, too, but we’ve been that way often enough already

A

A big pat on the back for South Africa for organising, against far too many expectations, a largely trouble-free tournament where the biggest sources of pain were probably French footballers and a billion vuvuzelas

Colin Randall

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2 thoughts on “South Africa: the World Cup in letters”

  1. I don’t think there’s anything mean spirited airing those concerns. It will be interesting to see what use, if any these stadia are put to. It’s difficult to swallow, both literally and metaphorically to observe these monements to FIFA largesse and funded by the likes of Coca-Cola and Budweiser when the people across the street have no electricity or even a toilet.

    Getting back to the original article. I was fully expecting the “O” to stand for “Oh dear FabiO”

  2. At risk of sounding mean-spirited, which is not my intent, I wonder about the biggest sources of pain now the World Cup is over. As always, the underclasses will be left to pick up the pieces. Or, rather, to languish among the pieces because I don’t suppose anyone will be picking them up.
    In particular, Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit will be a daily reminder to the people of what they have gained — a massively expensive white elephant that is now of little use to anyone — and lost: for one thing, their only school.
    A pat on the back, absolutely, for South Africa. But at the same time, and equally absolutely, a kick up the backside.

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