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 …
– Spain, worthy winners on the night, and just about overall, in a generally unimpressive event
– 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.
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
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
Holland: blackest of marks for an unpleasantly physical approach to the final. Whatever happened to Total Football?
***** ***** ***** *****
– another dismal World Cup showing by England, firmly putting us in our places
– 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
– Ronaldo, Rooney and all the others, whatever initials they have, who flopped so comprehensively
– Italy‘s place among the great also-rans, Iniesta’s winning goal in the final
– 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 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