Atlanta (CNN) - Congratulations to Spain for deservedly claiming their first World Cup, but man, what a terrible final. It was never going to be a classic, mind you, with the Netherlands compelled to break down Spain’s midfield artistry by hook or by crook - or risk being passed to death.
However, the cynicism of the Orange went way beyond what many believed they were capable of, even provoking the Spaniards into some football that was very unlike their usual renowned "tiki-taka" style.
Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) - After 64 games and 145 goals, we have new world champions. And worthy ones at that. Spain were the best team at the 2010 World Cup, and they deserved to take home the trophy from South Africa.
As I walked away from Soccer City Stadium on Sunday night, I felt privileged to have watched, in person, one of the best national teams of all time. You could argue the contrary, saying they scored only eight goals in seven games, but I can’t recall watching a national side that played with the class and the skill La Furia Roja did here in the Rainbow Nation.
The news that Lebron James is to become a Miami Heat player may or may not have caught your attention, depending on your interest or lack thereof in the NBA, but the sheer scale of the hype that surrounded the lead-up to his protracted revelation would surely have turned your head. I know it did mine.
In fact, the “Lebronathon” was even heavier on hype than David Beckham’s “inauguration” as a Los Angeles Galaxy player, and came close to the Obama-mania of the last U.S election back in 2008, boasting a live announcement on national television, billed as “The Decision”, that was sandwiched between a tsunami of pre and post speech analysis from sea to shining sea.
You’d have thought King James was a real king.
Let me say for the record that I acknowledge that Lebron is an extremely gifted basketball player.
Durban, South Africa (CNN) - Everything was shaping up so nicely. Two heavyweights of the world game, led by coaches capable of masterminding flamboyant play, a stadium crafted by the Gods and a location on the warm, sunny shores of Durban, South Africa. Even Paul the Octopus had predicted a winner (correctly as it turns out).
So why did the World Cup semifinal between three-time winners Germany and current European champions Spain produce such a damp-squib of an atmosphere at the Moses Mabhida Stadium?
This week, for the first time since November 2003, Roger Federer gets third billing among the musketeers at the top of men’s tennis.
The 28-year-old Swiss, who was already second in the rankings to Rafael Nadal prior to Wimbledon, even though he was seeded first because of his grass-court pedigree, is now the third-best player in the world according to the ATP rankings, having leapfrogged by Novak Djokovic.
The question is now, is Roger on a permanent downward spiral or is this just a blip on the resume of a player who’s still the highest achiever the game of tennis has ever known?
Editor’s note: CNN Hong Kong Operations Supervisor Matthew Booth will attempt to watch every match of the World Cup on television in the wee small hours of the night. Can he do it without being fired/divorced/committed to an asylum? Follow his updates here, as he becomes more and more incoherent from extreme sleep deprivation.
Hong Kong, China (CNN) - As the game schedule has become a bit more sensible, I prized myself away from the loving embrace of my couch and went to the pub for Netherlands vs. Brazil. My wife and I arrived five minutes before kick-off, and when we got through the doors I wondered if we had just bumped into some kind of YouTube flash mob.
The place made a sardine tin look like a four-bedroom flat with a harbor view. It was also roasting hot, so squeezing past people to get to the bar was a little bit unpleasant, if well lubricated.
This World Cup was supposed to belong to the superstars: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. All three players had fantastic campaigns with their respective clubs and everyone expected their goals to light up this tournament. They did, after all, score a combined 110 goals over the last season.
However, as the semifinals loom large here in South Africa, all three superstars have flown home and will have to watch the final games on television. Between them, they played 13 games and scored just one goal.
So what went wrong? Well, it is impossible to generalize and use the same explanation for every player, so let’s take it one case at a time.
Cheating was rewarded in spectacular fashion during Uruguay’s World Cup quarterfinal victory over Ghana, and football should consider changing its rules to stop it happening again.
Down the years, we have seen plenty of players handle the ball to stop it going over the line, but the difference with Luis Suarez’s transgression was its timing.
It was in the dying seconds of extra-time and there was no time for the subsequent red card to affect Uruguay’s chances. If Suarez hadn’t used his hands to block Dominic Adiyiah’s header, Ghana would have become the first African country ever to reach a World Cup semifinal.
Ever since Pele boldly predicted that an African side would win the World Cup before the end of the 20th century, the race was underway for a side from the continent to deliver.
African sides clearly missed the deadline the Brazilian legend set, but with the World Cup being held on the African continent for the first time in 2010 there was renewed hope the dream could be realized.
Not only had a record six teams from the continent qualified - after hosts South Africa had their place safeguarded - African talent had arguably never been richer or to be found in more depth.
But with Asamoah Gyan's extra-time penalty miss in Ghana's quarterfinal game against Uruguay, the chance to seal an historic berth in the final four for an African side went begging; a continent's hopes were dashed.