July 13th, 2010
10:14 AM ET

The best and worst of South Africa 2010

South Africa's Soccer City provided a stunning closing ceremony for the 2010 World Cup. (AFP/Getty Images)
South Africa's Soccer City provided a stunning closing ceremony for the 2010 World Cup. (AFP/Getty Images)

Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) – Now the sun has set on the first World Cup to be held in Africa, I'd like to share my abiding memories of a month spent following football's showpiece around the "Rainbow Nation."

From the highs of hospitable South Africans, the inconspicuous but much-hyped violent crime and the on-pitch artistry of Germany and Spain, to the lows of vuvuzela noise, lack of video technology and abysmal showings by heavyweights such as France and England, this tournament had it all...

Best player: Officially it was Diego Forlan, but I would have picked Andres Iniesta. The Spain midfielder is as skilful as Lionel Messi and pops up with crucial goals in big games. His trickery even made Arjen Robben look foolish at times during the final.

Biggest flop: Wayne Rooney. After his best-ever goalscoring season for Manchester United, England fans were hoping for more from the team’s number 10. Too tired or played out of position? Probably a bit of both.

Best entertainers: As an Englishman, it was painful to watch at times but Germany’s commitment to attacking football was thrilling. They were the highest-scoring team at the tournament, by a long way, with 16 goals.

Worst team: France were woeful. When you have players of the caliber of Evra, Henry, Anelka, Ribery and Malouda you should be able to muster more than a point from games against Uruguay, Mexico and South Africa.

Biggest controversy: TV technology. The only thing worse than the disallowed Frank Lampard goal and the wrongly-allowed Carlos Tevez goal was ruling body FIFA ignoring the controversy on its official website. Sepp Blatter says he likes debate – except when it’s about the glaring need for referees to use TV replays.

Best stadium: Durban. Stunning design and not just the eye-catching arch. Helps that it’s set in a city with a warm climate, even in winter.

Best fans: Full marks to Brazilian and England supporters for turning up to matches well after their teams were dumped out. The Dutch were as colorful as ever but the American fans had the best costumes – from astronauts to Elvis Presley outfits.

Biggest nuisance: The vuvuzela. Only enjoyable for those blowing it. Totally annoying for everyone else. When local stewards can spontaneously strike up a beautiful tribal hymn as they gather before a game, why would anyone try to argue that the vuvuzela is the sound of Africa?

Most laid-back: CNN cameraman Scott McWhinnie. A veteran of filming in several war zones, no wonder he was able to sleep anywhere, anytime.

Best steaks: The Old Greys rugby club in Bloemfontein. Run by a giant Afrikaaner called Dennis who looked as if he could pick you up and break you in two. But he was incredibly hospitable.

Most misleading: Reports of rampant gun crime and car-jacking. Either the police cracked down hard or these had been grossly exaggerated by the media before the tournament.

Biggest own-goal: FIFA’s decision to detain more than 30 women for wearing orange mini-dresses. Not the way to stop unofficial World Cup sponsors from getting publicity.

Most humbling: Visiting Nelson Mandela’s old house in Soweto. It’s tiny, but housed a large family and still has holes in the walls from bullets fired by the police. The house is still bigger than most. Most of the small “sheds” are actually people’s homes.

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soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Joe Baron

    Would you base your view of best player on the ability to cheat and not get caught? Please review the games carefully and note that the Spanish were indeed among the competitors for worst cheaters, althought the competition for the cheating title was fierce.

    July 13, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Reply
  2. Anthony

    Other than the best player, which I would have bestowed on Ghana's Ayew I am very much in agreement with the rest of your findings—a way to go Alex.

    July 13, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  3. Andre LePew

    The Vuvuzela ruined the viewing of the tournament...please ban the friggin' thing before Brazil...

    July 13, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Reply
  4. David Camilleri

    We watched the World Cup in HD and it was an exciting experience. This World Cup was like a dream – beautiful country and magnificent stadiums. We can say that now Africa can deliver.

    As an English fan I was so disappointed by the English team (as always) and I believe that the English are good in rugby but in football they have not evolved – they seem like Stone Age.

    There were great expectations in this World Cup especially from internationally famous players like Messi, Torres, Ronaldo etc – they were a great disappointment too but to be honest some of them were not that fit.

    I encourage FIFA to discuss with UEFA that when in a year the is World Cup, some international leagues will be suspended in order to concentrate on the World Cup.

    July 13, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  5. peribsen

    We Spaniards just won the ball game, but the WC was won by South Africa and through them by the whole continent. Hope we get to see more big events In Africa, they deserve it and it's high time they are given their proper place in the world.

    July 13, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Reply
  6. Diagne

    Loved the comments from Alex with the exception of the vuvuzela. Having lived in several Africian countries – it is as traditional as apple pie to America. You may not like apple pie but it is an old american symbol.

    July 13, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  7. cheryl pyper

    Hi Alex, thanks for your article on the best and worst of the World Cup. I just want to know whether you would have a second thought about Durban being the best venue, I believe Cape Town's venue outshone them all, yes, I am from Cape Town. Yes, I agree on the vuvuzela, I think I would have rather had 100 trumpeting elephants blasting, they would be more tuneful!!

    Please return to our beautiful country, take time to visit all the other spots around, we would welcome you.

    Cheryl

    July 13, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  8. Lupita

    I wont agree with your comment regarding Forlan. He did deserved the best player award since he brought his team up with every goal he scored. Uruguay had him and Lugano as leaders and Iniesta did not showed that same courage.

    July 13, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  9. Zooks

    We thoroughly enjoyed hosting the Soccer World Cup, loved the crazy fan costumes, the singing supporters and the excitement of the games! Come back and visit sunny Durban :)

    July 13, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  10. Guinnessstout

    Its been one of the world cups I have ejoyed most. I was not in Soth Africa. I followed by TV, but was really exciting. I will miss the fact to be anxious to turn on the TV at 1:30 p.m. (my country time) to watch the matches

    July 13, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  11. Paul Mamman

    I was expecting a comment on the aqua creature (Paul the Octopus) which had 100 % correct predictions of the outcome of matches it was tested on. By the way we have something in common – nomenclature! so, whenever he fails you could turn to me just that I will charge!

    July 13, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Reply
  12. Leah

    I was there – and I loved the vuvuzelas. TIA.

    July 13, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  13. lindseytinsey

    I like this article but disagree about the Vuvuzelas. I can tolerate them. Don't ban them.

    July 13, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  14. pixenees

    Pity Cape Town does not get mentioned. The most beautiful city.

    Thanks to all the people that visited our beautiful country, We enjoyed having you here, and please come back, We have loads more to offer.

    From a proud South African.

    July 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  15. segmar

    Joe Baron comment is not only false, it is disgusting.
    Such offensive assert deserve a Link to the image of the karate-kick in the chest to Xavi Alonso.
    No wonder why this post is named "The best and worst of South Africa 2010".

    July 13, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  16. Gerhard Sagat

    I have never been prouder to be a South African as I am now. We too hope that the rest of the world will start to take us, and our fellow African neighbours, a bit more seriously and look forward to the opportunity to host more international events.

    Thank you to the world for allowing us to be your hosts.

    July 13, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  17. TeeJay

    I know we have many challenges that will not be swept away by the World Cup. But it has done wonderful things for all of us, and it is true and verifiable that the event was welcomed by everyone from the poorest to the richest.

    To those that came and enjoyed themselves, thank you so much. When you come again I am hopeful that we will have moved further ahead, and absolutely confident that we will be as friendly and glad to welcome you as ever.

    July 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  18. kweku B

    You forgot to comment on the standard of referieing it was appaulling, including the final both spain and holland should have gotten 2 red cards apiece

    July 13, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  19. David

    Worsest cup ever ever..

    July 13, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  20. Ramkhelawan Maniram

    AFRICA!!!!AFRICA!!!!AFRICA!!!! Well done. You didn´t only DESERVE to stage the world cup, you are among the greatest of the greats. You have a LIVING LEGEND in human form – NELSON MANDELA! You are a really divine bunch of people. Your hospitality is second to none. From the days of slavery – the use of your people and the abuse they have suffered and are still undergoing throughout the entire wolrd is beyond comparison. Little by little those of your kind are scaling positions, not only at home – first heart transplant Dr. Christian Bernard – to the leader of the most powerful nation on earth – from Lucy to modern day heroes like Didier Drogba and Gyan and so many many more who delight the football fans throughout Europe every week-end, you are the true WINNERS of this world cup trophy. LONG LIVE AFRICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 13, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Reply
  21. Amanda

    I think it is bloody hilarious how hated the Vuvuzela's have become. I for one loved them!
    Honestly the biggest loser unfortunately was S. AFrica because China had ALL of the contracts, so there was much less money to be made than had been originally thought!

    July 13, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  22. Meryville

    It would help if all the sports press actually saw the matches. Iniesta and Sneijder did not get the best player award because both of them and their teams played probably the worst final ever!!! Mediocre and booooring. Van Bommel should not be allowed to play football anymore. He does not have a clue what fair play means. Wrong final big time. By the way, Uruguay was out of the world cup in 98 with a hand of God exactly as Ghana did now. Those are the rules of the game!! Red card and penalty!! They screw it up without any help. Please check the rules of the sport before speaking!!! For all those of you watching football for the first time in the states and in europe, you may want to check Germany-Uruguay match if you want to see good football and amazing players. See you guys in Brazil!!!

    July 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  23. Jeremy

    We all have our own opinions
    I was there for the final, the Non Afrikaans were particularly friendly, saw no crime and walked soweto freely with camera and no problems, the vuvuzelas were great and added sooooo much fun, I did notice some rather conservative narrow types who must have been wondering why everyone else was enjoying themselves (how dare they What!) I guess Alex must have been with that lot.
    The best World Cup ever, Plus I didn't do too bad at the casino!!!

    July 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  24. Disselboom

    If you live in South Africa, and have not been personally hijacked yet, as I have been, you know at least three people who have been. We are considering to call on the Fifain king Blatter to become our ruler. Not nice, not necessarily without controversy, but a somewhat quieter time with crime was nice. Did not stop the necessity for neighbourhood patrols and all that, though.

    July 13, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  25. Christo

    I would like to challenge Alex to an unedited debate on crime in South Africa, on CNN.

    July 13, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  26. adrian

    how can the fifa decide that such a referee should have this finale game....i've seen him in a doc. about referees at the 2008 european champ. this man is a disaster when he's whistle abroad.....
    the spanish were better but also thanx toserious faults off webb they've won got the cup

    July 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Reply
  27. JOHN

    I think Forlan deserves to be BEST PLAYER over Iniesta. Forlan is far more skillfull and desicive while scoring goals, giving passes and controling the game.

    July 13, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  28. johan

    Worst sport Dictator: Sep Blatter.

    July 13, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  29. juanmalitri

    I can not disagree more with Joe Baron. I suppose he´s is Dutch and I can imagine who must be being humilliated by Spanish footballers. Spain played football and Holland played something else...Karate or Kung Fu.
    Looking forward to the final penalty round. But they deserved whay they had. Shame on you Holland.

    July 13, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Reply
  30. Honala

    Well, big up to South Africa for the great world cup. I thought Ayew was the most outstanding player in this world cup. The lad was just amazing and world class. I would still put my vote on Ayew even if the whole world could vote otherwise.

    July 13, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  31. Rajendra Aneja

    BYE-BYE WORLD CUP, BYE-BYE VUVUZELA!!

    The final World Cup match played on 11 July, between Spain and Holland, was mediocre and mundane. The solitary goal scored by Andres Iniesta of Spain, ended everyone’s misery, by clinching a result and closing an uninspiring match. There were no memorable great passes, magnificent powerful kicks, or skilful dribbling of the ball, evoking interest and excitement.

    Holland’s tactics and behaviour on the field were abrasive. The team collated a record 9 Yellow Cards and 1 Red card, for persistent fouling. The British referee Mr. Howard Webb, was generous, or the team could have garnered a few more red cards. The team was rough and played very negative football. At times, some of their players were kicking other players, harder than they were kicking the football. The spirit and rhythm of the game, was destroyed! The Dutch played with similar abrasiveness and abandon, with Brazil, too on 2nd July. Truly, forgettable examples indeed, as Trevor Francis, a former English player underscored, for children watching this game, and wanting to become career footballers and emulate Pele or Beckham.

    It is an irony, that though the World Cup competitions commenced in 1930, now 80 years later, we caution players: “Please kick the football, not the bellies, chests or ankles of other players!”

    The comments of the Dutch coach Mr. Bert van Marwijk, underscore the underlying core attitude of the team. He said: "I would have loved to win the match, even with not so beautiful football. Yes it was rough at times, but that is part of football." No, it is not, Sir.

    The “jogar (game) -beautiful” is thus in severe danger of becoming the “jogar (game) bully-bully”! Holland’s behaviour on the field was not at all inspiring. Football players must realise that winning a match is great, but it is more important to win the hearts of the spectators and the opposing team, through exemplary sportsmanship.

    The overall quality of the game showed a significant decline compared to previous tournaments. There were no striking historical moments, which will make it to training videos in football academies. No team shone. The collapse of powerful Latin American teams, like Brazil, Argentina, Chile further exacerbated the talent vacuum. Whilst many stars like Brazil and England, fell to the ground, there were no new beacons of light.

    The World Cup has been a marketing bonanza, and a boon to manufacturers of sports goods, foods, beverages, the travel industry. And of course, the manufacturers of the irritating and rasping “Vuvuzela”. This bizarre instrument has been a nightmare. It provided background music in every game, appropriate for a horror film or a jungle tribal battle with spears!

    Brazil should enact new laws, to prohibit the deployment of the Vuvezela, the nefarious plastic weaponry, at the 2014 World Cup. This will safeguard the ears and mental balances of the multitude of game-lovers, who watch the sport on television.

    Sadly, this World Cup did not see the emergence of any towering talent like Pele, Maradona, Beckham, or Ronaldo. And it saw augmented rough behaviour on the field and a decline in sportsmanship.

    Shakira’s music and dance, were the redeeming and enticing saviours!

    So, there were no stars or glory, in this World Cup. Only a villain. The Vuvuzela. It yet echoes and resounds in my ears.

    Now, bye-bye, Vuvuzela. Rest well.

    Regards,

    Rajendra K. Aneja

    July 13, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  32. Enrico

    Thanks for the article and well done South Africa. Congrats to all and most of all to Madiba who made it all happen.

    July 13, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  33. gee

    We Africans hope you guys got home safely to your family(s), and we hope to see you back in Africa Continent soon.

    I am sure that you have all gone back to your different homes with great happiness and fond memories of what South Africa had offered you this past three weeks. And please do inform everyone back home that we are good people and definitely not what the MEDIA SPECTRUM have always depict us to be.

    And vuvuzela, I will miss you.

    July 13, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Reply
  34. angela

    knife/vandaling crime something i got used to since i've moved to england. crime is all over the world.not just one country because it's hosting world cup.

    July 13, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  35. Jaco de Koker

    I hope that now the rest of the world will realise that South Africa is capable of hosting any event.
    We are a nation that is capable of big things.And of hospitality, the rest of the world can learn from us.

    Proudly South African!

    July 13, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  36. IMRAAN

    loved every bit of it... well done SOUTH AFRICA you made us proud!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 13, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Reply
  37. Ashish

    I thought Forlan was the best player of the tournament. He was the inspiration for Urugay to reach semifinal. He was better than anyone else. His every goal was fascinating.

    July 13, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  38. Al Andalus

    I´m tired of idiots who are still pouting because they didn´t win. As far as whining for fouls and crying after being kicked goes, its an art far too developed.... But the Spanish players, contrary to some ape´s opinion, are actually the most conservative in that respect. You want an internationally acclaimed whiner-actor-crybaby?? Try Arjen Robben. Don´t take my word for it. Just try to watch him play 5 minutes straight without sobbing ridiculous crocodile tears 7 or 8 times in that miniscule span of time. It´s his shameful profession.

    July 13, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Reply
  39. Jan

    Spain was the best; They have been tested on every level by many teams, but their belief in the passing game never cracked.

    I supported my home country (Holland) in the final and was sad to see them lose. However, I think they played their best and the mentioned roughness wasn't anything extraordinary, especially for a final.

    I think Webb did a great job in the final. He and FIFA can be proud and Spain is the deserved winner of the cup. Congrats!

    July 13, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  40. Patricia

    Yes, Forlan was the best in the camp !

    July 13, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  41. Clinton du Preez

    The Vuvuzela has proved one thing true: if you can't beat them, join them! I live in Cape Town and also used to be anti-vuvuzela, but once you own one, it's a whole different story! It's such an amazing experience to stand anywhere in Cape Town and hear some distant Vuvuzela. Yes, you complain about the noise and the irritation, but people, get some spirit! And recognize that the Vuvuzela has added flare, colour (as if there was a lack of that beforehand), unity and just so much more FUN to the WC.
    If you keep concentrating on it, it's going to bug you. Just go with the flow. Enjoy it, and soon you'll notice the drone of the Vuvuzela over the TV will fade into the background until you don't notice it at all. That's what I found.

    Also, regarding the crime issue. I believe the international media's embarrassment they're feeling for blowing the crime issue out of proportion suits them well. I remember one British newspaper warning of "Machete gangs" and "roaming lions". Yes, there is crime in South Africa, I'm not denying it, but so is there in every country in the world. It's a HUMAN problem, not a South African or African or German or whichever country's problem.

    The best result of this WC is by far the decrease in ignorance towards Africa. Yes, we have electricity. Yes, we have roads, cars and television and universities and world class cities. Yes, we have white people too. And yes, we have lions, but they are (just as in other countries) in the zoo or in the wild far from your hotel. The world has finally recognized Africa's potential and untapped power. The possibilities are endless!

    Never have I felt more blessed, happy and proud to be South African!

    Ayoba!

    July 13, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Reply
  42. anonimo

    Para Rajendra Aneja, mi opinion es que no tienes ni idea de futbol, hablas por hablar, y dices muchas estupideces, espero que para otra vez que opines de cualquier otra cosa lo hagas con más sentido del conocimiento y no seas tan analfabeta........

    July 13, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  43. Edward

    @ Rajendra Anega

    As a Dutchman I was also disappointed with the Dutch performance, but I disagree that their tactics were 'abrasive'.

    In my opinion it is a football players duty to win the match. If they can do this by attacking and scoring a lot of goals, they should. But if the attacking players aren't performing and the team loses control of the midfield, then they need to take other measures. The Dutch midfield and defense did an excellent job, and they gave Holland a chance against a team that was clearly stronger.

    The fouls that The Netherlands made were not hard, but well-timed and professional. This is with the obvious exception of the karate kick dealt by Nigel de Jong (though I believe this was more clumsiness than anything else).

    This professional approach has brought Holland past Brazil and to the finals. The Dutch offense was ineffective throughout the tournament and most goals were lucky or through individual class. But for the first time in Dutch football history the defense was solid.

    I hope that Holland will continue this type of game, because it's clearly paying off. If this means that Holland will no longer be known for its style of play, then so be it. Germany, Italy and France aren't known for their fancy football, but they made their nation proud by winning the world cup. Only Brazil and now Spain have been able to combine the two.

    July 14, 2010 at 2:55 am | Reply
  44. jorgen friis

    Wayne Roony must share the biggest flop price for individuals along with the likes of Messi and C Ronaldo. Team flops were England, France and Italy. The final were beauty versus the beast with Holland being the beast.
    I recall the days years ago when Hoiland introduced Total Football. What a joy. Holland didnt deserve to win and good they didnt.
    Holland did what it could to make it memorable – for all the wrong reasons. Forlan was the best throughout the competition, hands down, and deserved his price. Iniesta scored the winning goal is all. And thats what he will be remembered for. Whether power of football has shifted from Latin America to Europe remains to be seen. To me European soccer is more about brawns than brains, apart from Germany whos style of play reminded me of the Latin American soccer and their ultimate placing is richly deserved, whereas Latin America is the opposite. I still think the beauty (Latin America) will be back and the beat the beast (Europe). I have acquired a vuvuzela and just love blowing my horn. I am sure my neighbors hate me.

    July 14, 2010 at 3:03 am | Reply
  45. Terry from Norway

    Some good observations, some funny ones..but way out of line when it comes to putting Iniesta over Forlan..No way! Forlan did everything for his team..Iniesta was one of a number of 'stars' in the Spanish team. Even Del Bosque would not have put Iniesta as the 'best player' in his team...much less of the tournament.

    July 14, 2010 at 5:13 am | Reply
  46. Dione

    Re the "most misleading" As a South African I can assure you that the media is not misleading – many of the cases of hi jackings, rapes, murders don't even make the newspapers. And yes, there was a crackdown on crime and a zero tolerance policy for criminals during the World Cup. Sadly I doubt whether it will last

    July 14, 2010 at 5:14 am | Reply
  47. b.o.zeman

    Vuvuzela really irritated many. Why all that horrible noise? Please shut up and enjoy the game, rather than try hard to make your presence known. The games are about THEM, the teams, not about the public. No more vuvuzelas, ever.

    July 14, 2010 at 5:49 am | Reply
  48. b.o.zeman

    Now the BIG question. Certainly, much attention has been given to South Africa. Wonderful. But what about the economic benefits. Did it benefit South Africa, or has the main benefit been to the FIFA bobos and the already well-paid soccer players? How did it benefit the South African "man in the street". This is of course a rethorical question. We all know the answer, don't we?.

    July 14, 2010 at 5:53 am | Reply
  49. Alet Potgieter

    Yes it is over. Thank God for that. I didn't watch too much of the football, but I did try and keep my small company afloat during these times. As for the media, you were not taken to the places where your life is in the balance, you were not taken to drive on the roads where is't better to own a 4X4 than a car nor were you even close to where the hi-jackings took place and robberies and rapes and killings. You were protected and shielded from all this. The last plane's wheels were just in when the trouble started again. Only this time, the media reported it. Now the newspapers are telling us about this brutal murder and that rape and that fatal hi-jacking. It was all a cover-up. Trust me, I live it everyday of my life.

    July 14, 2010 at 6:01 am | Reply
  50. Rhulani

    The English also sang their own TRIBAL songs at the stadia. Why is it not mentioned. IS the word TRIBE only used to define non Europeans?

    July 14, 2010 at 6:23 am | Reply
  51. jujy

    Forlan was hands down the best player, not only for what he did but also because he was there for his team, his humbleness is really inspiring. Great World Cup for the Uruguayan team. Just evidence of what "la garra charrúa" can achieve, to always keep fighting till the end. That was the Andes spirit, the survior spirit of this small but great nation

    July 14, 2010 at 7:01 am | Reply
  52. Felipe Garcia Martin

    Football has evolved too much into a controlled game. 30 year ago the referee would have interrupted in less than 25%. The opponent would just gear up a bit in a tough game. Football never was for girls and certainnly not for sissies.
    Spain played well but it seems most players have been attending acting classes as most of their falls were selfinduced and acted out as a hurtfull tackle. After the attempt to mislead they would simply continue playing. Had they really been hit they would have shown some pain.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:41 am | Reply
  53. Rob

    The vuvuzelas were awesome. Some of the English can be quite lame. I mean the one english reporter said he liked to watch in silence so that he could concerntrate fully on the game and that the vuvuzelas distracted his concerntration. He might as well have said, I am a boring old fart.

    July 14, 2010 at 8:48 am | Reply
  54. Vakele Sitshinga

    It was the best world cup ever. Thank you fifa for bringing this extravagant tornament to the beautiful mother land AFRICA, that was AYOBA.

    July 14, 2010 at 8:51 am | Reply
  55. Paul

    The last month was amazing here in South Africa. The visitors to our country were all great, but I have to give it to the Americans. They were friendly, non-judgemental, humble and very knowledgeable about football ("soccer"). Who knew...?

    July 14, 2010 at 9:24 am | Reply
  56. Jan

    The World Cup success is great for the self confidence of Africans. However, the hype around Nelson Mandela is overblown. The Mandela bandwagon does not present the full picture of the man. Mandela deserves his Nobel Peace Prize, for outstanding leadership around 1994. But, as president, he provided no leadership, no direction, or no explanation, when his people were crying out for it, helping to condemn 5.5 m people (18% of the adult population) through Aids. The newspapers were shouting it out every day and Mandela was advised by world class orthodox scientists – he did nothing. The man who led his people to freedom, condemned exponentially more black people, than Apartheid and Colonialism together. Africans surely deserves better than this.

    July 14, 2010 at 10:04 am | Reply
  57. Whatever

    Spain won the cup. Their performance was not the best(specially for a team packed with star players), its only that the other teams could not defeat them!! None of their matches were thrilling or entertaining.

    I am not Dutch, but I do think that the crticism on the abrasive tactics of the Dutch on the final day has gone to far. This is WK final we are talking about!!!!If you lack the skills of your opponents, then atleast don't let them walk all over you. The Spanish weren't Saints either, contributing to the most boring final ever...........

    July 14, 2010 at 10:15 am | Reply
  58. Atrades

    Alex, you did a great job and pretty damn accurate to boot. I’d like to add one title; Biggest Disappointment and for me it was Holland in the final. Over the past forty or more years the Dutch have thrilled and entertained countless millions of us as they built a universally acknowledged reputation in the “Beautiful Game”. For the life of me I can’t understand why they should destroy the esteem they have achieved in the past with 90 (or in this case 120) minutes of thugery. They started as they meant to continue with a booking within the first minute of play. By comparison during the Spain vs. Germany game the first free kick came after twenty minutes and the second on the stroke of forty. Perhaps Alex, another title could be added as Most Entertaining Game.
    By the way; did you ever find out what Joe Brown was watching?

    July 14, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  59. mjs

    The factual difference between crime elsewhere in the world and south africa's
    is that CRIME IN SOUTH AFRICA IS VIOLENT and MURDEROUS.
    The vulnerable (women,elderly,children,toddlers,even babies)
    get assaulted or raped in the processs of crime.

    If any of these visitors had to come to visit south africa by themselves
    they would be exposed to this and may experience it....

    July 14, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  60. pariuri

    vuvuzela is the best....

    July 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Reply
  61. rezultate live

    i am a Germany fan, i think Germany play the better football then any teams...

    July 14, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  62. Christa in Minnesota

    As a South African living abroad, I caught 2010 soccer fever big time! N'kosi Sikelel' iAfrika! I am so proud! I wore my World Cup t-shirt most Fridays and displayed my World Cup scarf in my cubicle the entire month. I am now the proud owner of a Vuvuzela covered in the South African flag, thanks to a colleague and his family, who made it to SA for some of the matches; I love it! My favourite match was played between the Netherlands and Uruguay; to me (no expert!) the footwork displayed that day, was what I expected at this level. I am upset that none of my TV channels did broadcast the closing concert; would have loved to see that. Due to the time difference, people kept telling me the final score to matches before I could get to the recorded games at night, until I posted a sign in my cube that read “No unsolicited SOCCER scores allowed here. No exceptions.” :-) I cannot help but wonder why there is so little coverage given to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Germany 2010 taking place right now?! Looking forward to Brazil in 2014; this World Cup has made a fan out of me!

    July 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Reply
  63. annie israel

    I lived in South Africa for 40yrs and miss that beautiful country everyday – i watched a lot of the soccer and was disappointed with the final as the game was very disappointing and to be honest the soccer was horrendous!! – I congratulate South Africa on hosting an absolutely wonderful world event, they did the most amazing job!! – so many people had their doubts including me and now i am very proud!! – Seeing Nelson Mandela at the closing ceremony i had tears in my eyes as he is the MOST AMAZING HUMAN BEING IN THE WORLD!! SOUTH AFRICA THE WORLD IS PROUD OF YOU!!! – i live now in Belgium which i am still trying to get use to after 10yrs – i suppose I'LL NEVER WILL!!!

    July 15, 2010 at 6:43 am | Reply
  64. Proudly African

    Finally the world can show us Africans some respect that this is not after all a dark continent there some inteligent good people of God, we are a blessed nation, this is only the beginning, we have so much more to give and offor to the world, we just need to be given an opportunity. We are a blessed continent, God has shown us favour and will continue to bless us if we are faithful and trust him. To all my black, white, indian, coloured, Asian brothers and sisters in Africa, especially South Africa, well done, I'm so proud of you, together WE STOOD UNITED AND WE SHOWED THE WORLD THAT WE ARE THE FORCE TO BE RECONNED WITH

    July 15, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  65. rui david

    Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the biggest disappointments of the tournament but he got one thing right when he said that goals are like ketchup, meaning that they are sometimes hard to pull out but then will come out at once. That's what happenend during the Portugal 7 – North Korea 0 game and it was great to watch.
    On the other hand, the most annoying sound linked with this world cup, worst than the vuvuzelas, is the annoying sound of those bad losers, bitterly seeking the most pathetic excuses to deny the fact that Spain was the best team, the one that played the best with the most technically skilled players, the one that managed to destroy the defensive tactics of most of their opponents, the one that controlled the ball and managed to survive without going down in some stupid counter attack.
    Congratulations Spain, it was entiredlly deserved and it saved the day. Had the dutch won with the type of football that they played in the final, it would have been a shame and a scandal.

    July 15, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Reply
  66. Keabetswe

    I think this was by far the best world cup in the history of football.
    Big up to south africa (africa) we proved the whole world that we are a true rainbow nation.
    Im proudly south african.

    July 15, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Reply
  67. Andre - Proudly South African

    Looking forward to Cape Town hosting summer Olympics 2020! Bring it SA! Lets do it..again, cos that's how we roll. SA rocks!

    July 16, 2010 at 7:51 am | Reply
  68. VegasSun

    To Joe Baron, If the Spanish were the worst cheaters, you obviously failed to see the Dutch dirty game in the final. The Spanish finished the world cup among the least amount of fouls and cards. I assume you either were rooting for the dutch or your team was beaten by the Spanish side for which you are sore about. Making such a remark for which you have no hard facts to prove it, is just pretty much that of a sore loser

    July 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Reply
  69. marcos from Brazil

    Worst: Heitinga flying kick... Man that should give him a life ban from the game! As a brazilian I wasn't disappointed because Holland beat us, I was disappointed bcause they beat us playing very anti football and I was definatelly haoppy to see them failing again on winning a world cup, they still have a lot to learn!
    Best: seeing Maradona and his boys going home... That was priceless!!!
    On a side note: congratulations Spain enjoy your time as world champions because Brazil will regain it at home soil on 2014. ;)

    July 17, 2010 at 1:57 am | Reply
  70. marcos from Brazil

    @ Hajendra Anega

    Sorry to disagree with u abiut the dutch playing style... They are good for K-1 or kickboxing but for football I feel sorry for them... And that guy Arjen Robben... What a whinning baby he is! Just unbelievable! I'm so happy Holland didn't win this competition! Not because they beat Brazil but because they still don't know what true football is!

    July 17, 2010 at 10:18 am | Reply
  71. martin

    Spain won the Eurocup, won Germany twice, in the Eurocupe and now in the WC. Also Fernando Torres wasn´t on fit, and Villa left his mate Torres to scored more..., don´t forget football isn´t just score, they made beautiful footbal...Netherlands was awful, dirty, they deserved to win the Taekowndo WC, they were all the time kicking, and doing everything to hurt spanish players. Holland had tried three times to win and three times vice, Was the Ref. the others two ones?? They had to be 10 in the first half..they made bored the match because they didn´t play football, I think it was Netherland pressing catch...

    July 17, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  72. Nicholas

    Vuvuzela supports the game.
    Play the ball and get the support.
    No team complained of lack of support.
    Has it ever happened?
    My joy is that it makes
    The 2010 WC realy special.
    U will see vuvuzela in
    major leagues and sure
    BRAZIL 2014. I like it. It has come to support
    The beutiful game.
    Nicholas, Abuja,Nigeria

    July 17, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Reply
  73. Nicholas

    Vuvuzela supports the game.
    Play the ball and get the support.
    No team complained of lack of support.
    Has it ever happened?
    My joy is that it makes
    The 2010 WC realy special.
    U will see vuvuzela in
    major leagues and sure
    BRAZIL 2014. I like it. It has come to support
    The beutiful game.
    Nicholas Udeh,
    Abuja,Nigeria

    July 17, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  74. Lulama

    Biggest nuisance: Outdated views of what Africa and South Africa is, such as expecting “local stewards to spontaneously strike up a beautiful tribal hymn as they gather before a game”. I bet right after this, you expect the locals to dance in loincloth while praying to the rain gods, with lions roaring in the background. When in Africa, do as the Africans do…You don’t get invited to a party and the instant you get there, start dictating to the host on how to behave

    July 19, 2010 at 9:11 am | Reply
  75. rini@ wits university

    these vuvuzelas that everbody be hating on so much...are they not being blown in our own stadia,built with our own tax money...its a good gesture i doubt there have been any reports of blood shed inflicted by any vuvuzela viloence....so what if they make a horrible noise...We love this terrible noise....U CANNOT DICTATE ANOTHER MAN IN HIS OWN HOME....so let us be

    July 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  76. Robert Agopian

    FIFA must implement the "Instant Replay" rule to the game of football with some guidelines. For calls (penalty or offside) inside the 18 yard zone and to check if the ball did cross the line or not. For the sake of fairness for all teams and fans alike. Mr. Blatter has been an obstructionist and old minded regarding this matter, therefore I believe FIFA is ready for a new president that can take the game into the next generation.

    July 21, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  77. Thom

    Yeah, I really think that Iniesta fell too easy when van Bommel "touched" him and then there is that guys Alonso, who clearly cheated when he was leveled by de Jong.
    Those spanish cheaters.

    July 22, 2010 at 2:11 am | Reply
  78. Bob N

    Whilst I agree that I would love to hear our South Africans in full voice – it is their choice to decide how they celebrate and we saw many thousands of visitors blowing the "sound of the wind.' The stadia would not have been the same without the vuvuzelas. South Africa was superb and surely it is time to STOP setting failed English and other equally failed colonial attitiudes and political nuances on vibrant societies that tend to be different.

    July 23, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  79. vernon D

    loved the article. i agree Durban does have the best stadium. I am so proud of being african. Thank you FIFA

    July 27, 2010 at 11:24 am | Reply
  80. soley

    Congratulation to all the S African poeple and the whole African continen .It was a trimendous joy to watch the opening ,the games itself and the closing ceremony.You have shown the world so much good things about you .im so proud of you keep it up.

    July 30, 2010 at 10:02 am | Reply
  81. Paulo Silveira

    Nice observations and comments. allow me disagree on the best player which for me was Xavi.

    please include in your comments the worst player ever and the worst coach: Felipe Melo and Dunga from Brazil. What a mess.

    August 7, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  82. wandile shabangu

    JD, ITS WAS A BREATH TAKING MOMENT SURELY IT WAS AN INCREDIBLE AND FANTASTIC WORLD CUP.

    August 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  83. Nick Costopoulos

    Journalists like Alex Thomas should not be allowed to express their opinions. In his summation of the World Cup in South Africa, his most misleading item is the "supposed crime" that he did not see or experience. What about the hard facts? Crime statistics in SA are amongst the worst in the world – of course it was all kept at bay or swept under the carpet for the month of play – reminicient of Beijing 2008. I do not think the countless victims of crime in South Africa would agree with you Alex Thomas, that reports on crime are "grossly exaggerated"
    Take a hard look at what you wrote and if you have any sense of fairness and decency perhaps you should revisit the country on a fact finding mission and report the facts, not your opinion.

    August 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Reply
  84. lorenzo

    i think this past world cup socks.They spent a lot of many in ads and african people are dying.instead of spending many in the tournament they should have helped them.This is only a pruf powerfull people give us. They are telling us, who cares about african people?

    August 24, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  85. Emmanuel Nwoke

    u have done a great job here,this analysis is without bias pls keep up d good job

    September 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  86. Partite Calcio Gratis

    that he did not see or experience. What about the hard facts? Crime statistics in SA are amongst the worst in the world – of course it was all kept at bay or swept under the carpet for the month of play – reminicient of Beijing 2008. I do not think the countless victims of crime in South Africa would agree with you Alex Thomas, that reports

    April 25, 2012 at 12:52 am | Reply

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