From June 11 to July 11, the 19th World Cup was held in South Africa. After a qualifying process that included a total of 204 national teams (a record), 32 teams, including the automatically qualified host nation South Africa, will be granted a spot in the final tournament. Slovakia and Serbia will be making their tournament debuts.


In terms of venue, the FIFA World Cup 2010 will be historic; it will be the first time the competition was held in Africa (Morocco had been rather close to be the host in 1994, 7 votes against 10 votes for USA). However, since the tournament was to be held in Africa this time, only African countries applied to host the event – Egypt and Morocco came nearest in the bidding process.

The brass instrument known as the Vuvuzela, which flooded the stadiums with a high and monotonic tone during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, was familiar to the football crowd who watched the games on television. After the presence of Vuvuzelas enraged some fans and, perhaps, players, a controversy about the Vuvuzelas’ ban arose prior to the tournament. However, no ban was imposed.


The previous tournament’s format was used for this one. In other words, a first round of a group stage composed of eight four-team groups will advance to a knockout round in the second round.

Cities and arenas

The matches will be held in twelve cities with the same number of stadiums (for an overview, see the “Cities and Stadiums” box). The Maracana Stadium (Estádio do Maracana) was the largest venue for the final. It had been renovated for the tournament and could accommodate 74,738 spectators (which could be compared with the capacity close to 200,000 in 1950).


Before the tournament began, Brazil, Germany, Spain, and Argentina were four of the most popular teams. Argentina was led by Diego Maradona, who served as coach, and Lionel Messi, who played on the field. The Argentinian team’s promising results came to an end with an 0-4 loss to Germany in the Quarter-finals. The Netherlands will also knock Brazil out of the quarter-finals. The other two great favourites, Spain and Germany, will clash in one of the Semi-finals, with the outcome being a repeat of the Euro 2008 final between the two teams.

In the other Semi-final, the Netherlands will beat Uruguay in a bruising contest. The cruelty shown by the Dutch team in the final should have resulted in two red cards.

It looked morally deserved when Andrés Iniesta scored the game’s only goal in extra time for Spain. Spain, the eventual European champions, went on to win the World Cup the following year, a feat only West Germany had previously accomplished.


After extra time, Spain will defeat the Netherlands 1-0 in the final.

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