Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) – The World Cup has never been a tournament that respects form or status. In 2006, an unfancied Italy came from nowhere to triumph over all opposition, their feat an echo of the Azzurri’s win in 1982 as dark horses. West Germany overturned an awesome Hungary side in the "Miracle of Bern" to win in 1954, and a star-studded Netherlands side lost in two successive finals in 1974 and 1978 despite their revolutionary "total football" tactics.
And so the 2010 tournament has in many ways conformed to type, with some of the so-called giants of world football being downed by plucky Davids.
Defending champions Italy fell at the group stages after the test of Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia proved too tough for a side of increasing age and apathetic players.
France, world champions of 1998, also fell apart in dramatic fashion before failing to reach the knockout stages. After poor results on the pitch, a fall-out between coach Raymond Domenech and striker Nicolas Anelka and a subsequent player revolt saw a farcical disintegration of a much-touted squad.
England, always a team set up to fall by their domestic media, dashed the hopes of a nation by not only losing their pre-tournament form — they were Europe’s most prolific goalscorers in qualification — but also exposing the world’s highest-paid coach Fabio Capello as being less infallible than previously thought.
Before kick-off there was genuine feeling among many pundits that it was England’s time to regain the world title they last won in 1966, but those wearing the three lions on their chest stuttered and stumbled through the group stage before being soundly beaten by a young, stylish German side in the last 16.
Africa has also had its disappointments. No credible journalist put too much hope in a winner from the host continent, but many felt that in Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Nigeria and South Africa there was enough talent and experience for those nations to set the tournament alight.
Alas, Didier Drogba’s Ivorians failed to progress from an admittedly tough group, Nigeria's Super Eagles squandered chance after chance and suffered an early exit, while Cameroon and South Africa — despite showing moments of great football — failed to show the clinical finishing needed to progress. All hopes now rest on the shoulders of Ghana, who with youth in their ranks, have their eyes on a semifinal berth.
Big-name players also failed to deliver. England striker Wayne Rooney came into the tournament off the back of a prolific season with Manchester United. His goalscoring form led many to see him as a contender for the world player of the year. But, whether through injury or fatigue, Rooney seemingly lost the ability to do the most simple of things. Soporific when on the field of play, the once hotshot couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo in South Africa.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a similar fate with Portugal, as his side were knocked out by a superb Spain team in the last 16. The Real Madrid man failed to make an impact of any note despite his top-billing status after almost single-handedly keeping "Los Meringues" in the Spanish league title-race last campaign.
Franck Ribery helped German side Bayern Munich progress to the final of the European Champions League and win a domestic double, but could do nothing to inspire a fractured France to perform.
Samuel Eto’o will also have left South Africa ruing his inability to make a mark on the biggest stage of them all. The Cameroon striker won a treble of titles under Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan before the World Cup, but due mainly to being played out of position, he was unable to transfer the form that saw him lift the European Cup for the third time to anything more than two goals for the Indomitable Lions.
Many giants of the game have fallen, but part of the magic of the World Cup is it creates new legends with each edition. Only time will tell who will be the new Goliath to leave South Africa as champions.
France was never a "much-touted squad" this year, not by a long shot. They lost to China in a friendly for goodness sake, and only qualified for the World Cup after a hand ball was missed versus Ireland.
Also, how the heck can someone be "less infallible"? Isn't that like being "less perfect" or "less the best"?!
I guess the winner of The Netherlands vs. Brazil.
Lets hope for a final between The Netherlands vs. Germany.
That's more spicy then Brazil vs Argentina or Portugal vs Spain in the 8th. Finals. The midfield of Brazil is in my opinion to weak for the Dutch power, when you take their midfield, their defense and offense are powerless.
Keisuke Honda played really well.
The way he played is the way i expected ronaldo to play
HOLLAND...... HOLLAND...... HOLLAND..... HOLLAND..... HOLLAND.....
never change a winning team!!!
If Maradona's Argentina can fall behind, but not implode and still come out winners, they might be on the verge of a dynasty!
Argentina seems to fight back, though there were so many negativity surrounding that team. then again, Asian teams like Korea and Japan did well in this tournament rather than the famous giants or one time winners. Congratulations, guys! At least you were able to be in final 16.
Teams like France/ Mexico/ Cameroon leaving the tournament in the early stages really spoils the fun. Yet, football is a game one can never predict the winner.
So, this time let's await for another team to bounce on us as "The Winners of the World cup"
Argentina, Brazil, Germany and Uruguay have twelve World Cup wins between them. Spain are the current European champions, and were favourite or second favourite for this competition at the outset. The Netherlands have reached the World Cup final twice and are former European champions, and have a number of world-class players. Ghana have long been a power on the African continent. Paraguay have two Copa America wins to their name, and none of their South American neighbours see them as a pushover.
So the calibre of the teams in the last eight is not all that mediocre at all. In fact it is a class line-up.
Not many people expected much from Italy or France before the event started as both are in transition, and as for England, with their past record why should anyone be surprised by their performance?
I see Holland beat Brazil this Friday (but I am biased!) After that there's no stopping us!
Hup Holland Hup, Laat de leeuw niet in zijn hempie staan etc. etc
Ireland beat france in 90 minutes in Paris and dont forget they claimed 2 world cup scalps in the pre tournament friendlies. If it wasnt for cowardice on FIFAs part.. they might be there right now, low profile, hard working and getting stuck in.
Without the shadow of a doubt, one of the 3 remaining European teams. Brazil and Argentina can be barely called "teams", more likely two bunches ranging from reasonable to good or great players, leaded by amateur coaches (in Maradona's case, add to that "court's clown"!). No tactics at all, their football is solely based on the individual talents. A minimum organisation by the Dutch and German teams will send both back to their home lands. Argentina's defense and Brazil's midfield are really weak...
Oh yes, all that said by a Brazilian...
Until the offside rule is changed to one like that used in ice hockey, and a camera is put on the goal, again like ice hockey, this game will always be low scoring which increases the likelihood better teams will be eliminated early. It is only because there are so many very good teams that one of them will emerge the champ and everyone ends up saying, "Well, it looks like the best team won afterall".
All games have serious flaws that influence the outcome. Futbol, aka soccer, is among the worst. Imagine, after 90 minutes plus 15 minute overtime a 0 to 0 game is decided by penalty shots. Might as well flip a coin.
Has everyone gone mad or something? Perhaps we are not watching the same games here. Clearly... Germany is gonna take this without a shadow of a doubt. Pfftt.
Isn't the premise here a bit silly? At least 3 of the remaining are bona fide Goliaths, especially Brazil with its 5 titles.
It's obvious: one man does NOT make a team!
Germany vs Brazil Final it is.......
with Ghan being no 4. (my bias)
France did was a disgrace and a shame be for this world cup being in the cup was a curse to them the referees take out the brigth of the championship were not imparcial cases like england goal against german, goal from argentina tevez against mexico and the spain goal against the portuguese were responsible for the result of bad matches and teams unfair eliminated how do explain in portugal vs spain put a spanish talking referee?is the same thing that you put one angolan referee doing one portugal spain
Yeah, I see a Germany v. Holland final in our future. Or at least Germany v. Somebody! This article really has no grounding, just because France and Italy were in the final in 2006 doesn't mean they're any good this year.
Well everyone is betting on Brazil to win, but like the story of David and Goliath, Ghana will properly supprise everyone since they are the underdog and the youngest players in the tournament.
Netherlands = Rest In Pain ...Brazil is the World Cup 2010 Champion!!!
The writing is already at the wall, Bazil, Argentina and Germany looks it, but dont be amazed if Ghana could be the David. There are stij more surprises 2 come!!
Check out the list of TOP 12 teams FIFA rankings: you left out Croatia that plays great football, but had four main players injured in the qualifications. Most of the top 10 teams are out of the tournament or did not qualify. Every time the world cup is not played in normal conditions and football friendly countries you have weird status ending. Similar to Japan and Korea World Cup... Also, look at how many world class players did not even go to World Cup due to injuries or their teams not qualifing. CONCAF, Asian qualification – that is a joke, while europe is overwhelmed with good teams and much tougher to get in – not fair by any standards.
I am very sorry for Japan.
No one expected anything from those who have failed so far. Tournment is still very much as expected (after a round of knock offs).. Spain, Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Holland are all still there.. That is quite a bit of talent and a true reflection of it as well... It would only be a surprise if one of the other three wins the cup (Uruguay, Paraguay, Ghana).. Only then would this article be justified...
I disagree with many of the comments though about how strong Europe is.. This indeed looks like almost a South American sweep.. Argentina x Brazil for the final.. and Spain x Uruguay for 3rd.
The winners between Brazil Vs Holland and Argentina Vs Germany will be in the final. As a Brazilian, I don't want to even think about a final between Brazil and Argentina because if they (boludos) win that's serious bragging rights forever!
The only giants are Brazil, 5 times champion and Maradona's Argentina. France was NEVER a giant in soccer tradition.
Those damned vuvuzelas! They drive players crazy. Simple.
PARAGUAY...not that's a proper 'team'...no superstars, however plenty of experience, hard work, and 'true grit'! They work for each other and don't be surprised if you see a Brazil-Paraguay final!!
WHEN WILL WE CHEER FOR INDIA IN A FOOTBALL WORLD CUP
WE WANT TO SEE SPAIN TO WIN FIFA WORLD CUP
PORTUGAL 'S OUTFIT WAS IMPRESSIVE, WISH THERE GAME WAS TOO
Incredible as we have seen arosed many new good coaches since the last two world´s cup. As an example, Germany in the last world cup and now, Brazil and Argentina. These young coaches are young leaders acting their power of communication in order to get the best motivation and tactical obedience. The tactical obedience is a reality on Europe a long time but is only a tendecy in South America. Particular in Brazil, we past to respect it more than ever since 1994. One of the reflects of Brazil has won 1994 world cup was the changing of mind of childrens. Even a twelve years-old child talks about tactics nowadays and respects your coach, in terms of influence on the game result, on the same way respects your teammate. For these reasons, a believe that Brazil and others south american´s teams will increase of performance a lot, aligning their own features with good tactical aproaches.
World cup final: Brazil vs Argentina or Germany, there´s no secret. Maybe Spain or Uruguay can be the third place, Netherlands? Good team but will lost to the best players of the world. Ghana? Please i´m still thinking how they reached the quarter-finals. Good luck Netherlands, you´ll need. Brazil have no mercy in football
What on earth is this article talking about? Who expected France or Italy or Cameroon to do well??
Argentina Brazil Germany Netherlands Spain are still in it. The results thus far reflect exactly what one would expect. England and Portugal being out reflects their having slightly less strong sides than those above and their having played stronger teams in the early stages.
No mention of Latin Americam teams....Giants and Goliaths...are you only covering one perspective??
Who wrote this article? Clearly someone that doesn't know anything about football/soccer. No "giants" have fallen. France and Italy were never giants. Brasil, Argentina, Germany, Holland and Spain are still alive. The giants are still going ..none of them have fallen.
Holland will go all the way. This is the moment to send the Brazilians home. To all the Brazilians: Sunday you can see your idols back in your country, somewhere on a airport in Sao Paolo.
Never has a European National Team won it out of Europe; but this is first time in Africa...Maybe the tradition would be broken. Sympathize with Netherlands 2 times finalists specially with that ball that hit the woodwork in stoppage time of 1978 finals that broke my heart till today, Robben wonderful player but too full of himself. Messi more skilled, team "servant" & modest.
The winner of Argentina vs Germany will meet the winner of Brazil vs Germany in the Final. An all European or All Latin Final will bhe more emotionally exciting.
Realistically it is Argentina; hopefully it is Holland but can they do it without Van Der Sar???
Brazil and Germany will be the final. Brazil will be David not Goliath.
portugal lost with an ofside goal from spain, even though spain were a better side , hoping germany to win the world cup
I am rooting for Spain and Brazil. I would be so excited if either of them won :)
Footbal watcher comment is so not right: so why every single player from south america eants to play and plays for european teams. All of the first 11 in Argentina are playing in Europe. Europe is by far the most competetive continent in footbal. In South America Brazil and Argentina are awesome and truly great, but that is it. In Europe, you have more than 15 high class teams – even teams such as Croatia, Turkey, Sweden, etc who are not in the world cup right now have players that Chile, Paraguay or similar teams can only dream about. And yes, you rate the players of their success by their success in the whle season long process in their teams in europe – ask yourself how many players from middle and south america did not succedd and could not play on the highest level.
It will be Argentina. It is decided by FIFA much before the games start. I could bet anything on that. They will probably beat Brazil on the finals. Brazil will not be allowed to win, since the next World Cup will here.
England will not win because they will probably win the bid to host on 2018. World Cup is not about soccer anymore, is about business.
Spain, Holland, Germany, Brazyl, Argentina are not giants??
Maybe the European champion or Brazil are not so good for us.
Now there are a lot of good players, do you know who are Xavi Alonso, Xavi Hernandez, Villa, Higuain, Messi or Agüero??
Maybe only a very good player as CR cannot win to another selection, or someone as Ribery cannot change his coach in the middle of a championship.
Brazil x Germany in the final and Brazil will win i can see...
the only thing that italy needs, is a striker like VIERI....
Mark my words. It'll be Germany vs Brazil. And Germany will prevail.
Pardon me, which giants have fallen? This is world cup number 19. The previous 18 were won by:
Brazil 5 times, still in
Germany 3 times, still in,
Argentina 2 times, still in,
Uruguay 2 times, still in.
This adds up to 12 out of 18, or two-thirds!
So the real favorites are stil in and fighting for the cup.
England and France won only one time each, which is not much of a record. Italy has won 4 times, this is the only titan to have fallen.
Buzz its not Futbal!!!!!!! Its Football like playing ball with your foot!!!!!!!!!!
France is never average but always extreme team; from the best (1 victory in 1998+ 1 final in 2006, since 1998) to the worst (elimation with humiliation in 2002 and shame in 2010). That might be something in our genes, never let others, the rest of the world, indifferrent...It runs like a pendulum, from pride to shame.
I bet a victory for next world cup!
Mexico was completely dominating Argentina in the first 20 minutes
Despite the pathetic lineup...
If it weren't for that clearly offside goal by Tevez, the story would have been much different with a victory by Mexico...
Argentina is weak on his defense and subpar goal keeper...
Too many superstars up front and a Coach that has been saved by his players so far...and gets scared very easily....
Germany will beat Argentina in an unpretty fashion...
Brazil will win the World Cup South Africa 2010....
France can't function without Zidane. It has won the Cup only once, under Zidane and due to Brazil's horrible performance in the finals (because of Ronaldo's seizure 5 min before the game which greatly affected the entire team's emotion and concentration). Brazil doesn't have the best team during this World Cup, but it's nevertheless a favorite. It's the only country that has won the World Cup 5 times, and when it doesn't win, it always ranks high at the end of the championship. Also, it has the best players in the world. I don't understand why people think Spain is a favorite. Yes, Real Madrid is one of the best (if not the best) teams in the world, but the best players are NOT Spanish. This club has a lot of money and can afford to buy the best players around the world.
Too much money spent on so called big-named players in Europe. A total fiasco of club football which is only helped by marketing and propaganda and mediocre players compared to SouthAmericans.
As for all the Brazilian fans: Pride goes before fall!
We were warned this situation would arise in English and European football 25 years ago. The English league and playing style were always seen as ideals for the rest of the world to emulate. Then we started to pay the players and managers vast amounts of money and flood the league with foreign players. The FA were warned that would stifle the development and chances of local lads wanting to play for their own teams and that would inevitably affect the national side. That situation has now come to pass.
The only hope for English and European football now is to stop bringing in foreign players and nurture our own youngsters. Keep politicians and their agendas out of sport and stop paying players millions of pounds a year.
lame article, the giants are dominating the final 8: germany, argentina, brazil, netherlands, spain, uruguay. the teams that lost this year were weak, france didn't even deserve to be there.
Hup Holland Hup!!!!!!
MAY THE BEST WIN! BUT THER IS NO BEST!!!Holland is well organized but nothing outstanding. Brazil is playing by the book, with a good defense, but still suffers from traditional lack of objectivity. Argentina is fully motivated...but what else? Germany is, as alwyas, a machine ready to work. If she is not beaten at the first 30 minutes, their superior physical conditions lead for victory at the last 15 minutes of every game.
With that said, I tend to agree to one of the comments above. The champion is the winner between Brasil x Netherlands.
It will come up to either Brazil, Argentina or Germany. Brazil has a great team, and Argentina´s attacking talent is unparalleled. The one impressive thing about this world cup is that four South American teams (out of five that started it) are in the final stages but only three European are still there, out of thirteen! that is saying a lot about where in the world the best soccer is played!
The "giants" have fallen...? The top 2 ranked teams in the world are still in it, and the #3 is only out because they lost to the #2... Netherlands, Germany, Argentina still in it, all top 10 ranked... so which "giants" have fallen? 5 out of the top ranked 10 have made the final 8. What's the big surprise?? This sport has enough luck involved that there's no surprise good teams occasionally lose to bad teams.
Only seven nations have won the world cup. Take away Uruguay, Frances and Englands singular host nations triumphs and we are left with a world cup which can only be won by Brazil, Argentina, Italy and Germany. Conveniently two from South America and two from Europe.
Also note that the controversial decisions always go in the favor of Brazil, Argentina, Italy and Germany. Do they ever have crucial goals ruled off side? No, but they sure get given a lot of off-side goals. Do these four nations ever get knocked out with free kicks won from blatant dives? No, but they sure win a lot of free kicks. Do they have good goals disallowed or get players red carded for no real reason? No but everyone else does.
FIFA is obviously a corrupt gang, terrified of technology because that will make it harder to fix results.
I love watching the world cup, its a great bit of nationalistic theater. But get real, its a total fix.
Why does England with its superb home league and multiple champions league victories not have a major rep at FIFA? Beckenbauer, Platini and Blatter make fifa look like another European market gang i.e. France and Germany carving things up in their own interest. England never even joined FIFA or played in a world cup until 1950. England and Scotland are the worlds oldest national football teams they started international football with the home championships. When FIFA came along England did not want to join, hence no FIFA membership until 1950. There's bad blood between FIFA and the FA. So obviously England has bad decisions against it every world cup.
Anyway, its a bit of fun but don't take it seriously. The world cup is a monotonous scam created for the benefit of a few.
A final withBrazil or Argentina is quite possible
Everybody knows that Brazil will be the world champion!!!!!!!!!
I'm so happy Ghana is still here!
Ireland was jipped! Let There be flying Dutchmen on the final pitch!
Italy has a generation with no great players. Sometime it happens. Brasil is the only team that never know this kind of problem.
At the beginning of the world cup the 3 favourites team were Brasil, Argentina and Spain, and 90% one of these is going to win.
lol the world cup giants have never been the players they've been built up to be in exception for messi. Other players less talked about like Tevez and Villa are where the real talent is at.
Certainly, the guy who wrote this article doesn't know anything about soccer. Some of the writers in America never talk about South American soccer, they dont tell the world that Uruguay was the first to win a world cup or Brasil has been the only team in the world to win a world cup in each continent including Europe. We have in total 9 World Cups Brasil 5, Uruguary 2, and Argentina 2. Everytime the world cup is playes the FIFA secures more than 10 spots for the Europeans teams against 5 spots for the South American team, yet we have 9 World cups against 8 or 9 World cups of Europe.
Every year there is the club team world cup which is played by the only European and South American teams. We have bit Europe more than 19 times against 15 times for Europe. They have double the money and teams, yet they cann't against South America.
The best soccer players the world have seem are South Americans. Just to mention a few. Pele, Maradona, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Carlos Valderrama, Romario, Garrincha, Messi and the list continues.
Well, im not even a soccer fanatic but I know a little of history. Please Americans dont get fooled by what some of the writers write or at least force them to do a proper homework.
I honestly don't even know why people think there's a possibility Holland might win over Brazil. It's just hilarious to me.
The Brazil or holand will win...it s so obivious...they play a different soccer...
Lets hope that the reff.and linesmen do a fair job, becauwse lets be honest, up until now and in every WK the Brazilian team gets away with almost everything...Im afraid that it will happen again tomorrow, so in Holland we are preparing for a game on one side Brazil +reff. and the other side Holland..
YES WE CAN.
Helen how can anyone win from a team when they got the reff against them??
Ghana will win the world cup handsdown .Believe it or not.its real its happening ,its Africas time . The Obama wining spirit is with Ghanas blackstars.Go Ghana go Afriaca
Apparently, both the expert who wrote the article and many of the experts posting comments do not know and understand as much about soccer/football as they think...quite a bit of rubbish in both the article and the comments.
ivan.. South American talent plays in Europe, Middle East, etc.. because the clubs there are richer, not because there is more talent in Europe than South America.. And hey, Spain is one of my favourite teams and I will be happy to see them go all the way.. I am just calling it as I see it...
I also disagree with your comment about allowing more European countries in the world cup.. Especially after the good results of New Zealand and others...
What I agree with you on, is that I would've loved to see some of the top 20 nations reach the finals.. Like Croatia, Egypt and Russia.. But that is football....
A couple of funny "conspiracy theory" guys commenting here :-) well they are everywhere I guess... NO! World Cup is not predetermined.. if it is, please let me know who to bribe to have that done... Also, FIFA does not appear nearly as corrupt as most of earth's governments..
SORRY YOU ALL BUT THIS IS GOING TO BE A "DUTCH STORY"
(RESPECT TO ALLT EAM LEFT)!!!!
Holland prepare to flight back home in a few hours... Brazil is coming to win the game and the world cup.
Yes, and it is Brazil that will be flying back tomorrow. -)))
The way things are now, Ghana may not make it having squandered a beautiful opportunity to seal the game with a penalty. Imagine losing a penalty that came to them so easily. It is so painful. I am betting on the Germans to take the cup.
I was shocked today when I came home to learn that Brazil has lost.
I think tomorrow the winners will be Argentina and Spain; although my preference would be for Germany to win tomorrow and in the final.
i so am glad that the arrogant Maradonna is going home.
I remember a press conferece before the Worldcup where he refused to sit on the same table as Tosten Müller, stating " i had expected the coach or a nation player not a unkown ballboy". Müller had to leave before Maradonna came back at the table.
After his goal in the 2nd minute yesterday I think Maradonna will be dreamig about the "ballboy" for a long time.
To ALL those Brazilians I say "Isle or Window seat", go home and enjoy the game on your big screens, the GERMANS are here.
Brazil cannot handle any team that brings the game to them that takes them on man for man, like the mighty Germans. As soon as the game does not go their way they start falling apart, this has been evident in the game against the Netherlands, as soon as Brazil saw they were loosing the game they became agressive.
There is no predictions to be made for 2010, Germany are winning and thats that.
For all the great predictors, ha ha...where is south america now? Europe is by far the best, best football leagues, best football environment, more money, best national teams....
Collaborator and co-creator of CNN sport concepts such as The CNNFC, The Circuit and Aiming for Gold I have a passion for all things world football, F1 and athletic excellence.
Veteran of the 2010 World Cup, the 2012 London Games and a lifelong Grand Prix devotee my interest lies in sport’s power to intrigue and excite, the deeper stories statistics can tell and the opportunity social media platforms offer for engagement of a global sport community.
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