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South Africa and the World Cup changed forever

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David Bond | 19:46 UK time, Monday, 12 July 2010

2010 World Cup: Johannesburg

As Spain's triumphant players returned to joyous scenes in Madrid, the rest of the world was reflecting on a tournament which may have transformed South Africa but left some people with mixed feelings.

It is hard to believe now, after a month which has gone more smoothly than anyone here could have expected, that for years there were doubts over South Africa's ability to organise this event.

Fans would be stabbed and robbed, it was claimed. The transport system would break down and the stadiums would not be ready.

Yes, there were problems. Some of my BBC colleagues were mugged in Johannesburg; the Durban airport fiasco meant many supporters with tickets to the semi-final between Spain and Germany did not get in to see the game, and corporate fans turned their back on the World Cup, leaving Match, Fifa's hospitality partners, out of pocket.

But fears about crime and security were largely unfounded. More than 3m enthusiastic vuvuzela-blowing fans went to matches at stadiums which were magnificent. Whenever problems arose they were often overcome by a helpful, smiling volunteer.

There may be questions over the future use of some of the 10 stadiums, which cost over £1bn to develop or renovate, particularly the venues in Nelspruit and Polokwane. Even Soccer City does not have a regular tenant lined up, although talks are ongoing with the Golden Lions rugby team.

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A-Z of the World Cup in South Africa

But the more important and enduring legacy - one which cannot be defined by buildings or new train lines - is the boost to South Africa's international image. Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the organising committee, spoke on Sunday of the country crossing a psychological barrier.

And Archbishop Desmond Tutu told me in an interview that even he had been surprised by the way all colours and races had united in the common cause during this World Cup.

"We have all talked about the rainbow nation," he said. "But we are the caterpillar that has become the beautiful butterfly. If you had told me we would be experiencing what we are experiencing, I would have asked 'Who is your psychiatrist?'"

But for the millions - make that billions - who watched this tournament on television around the world there is a sense that the quality of the football was underwhelming.

Part of that may be explained by England's abject performance in South Africa. Had Fabio Capello's team played better and made it past Germany in the second round then people in England may have felt differently.

Another explanation may come from the level of expectation that burdens any World Cup. People demand to be dazzled by the world's best players but, for whatever reason, that definitely did not happen here.

Spain were fitting winners but we rarely saw them perform to their brilliant best. The most exciting football came from Joachim Loew's young German side, in particular the Golden Boot winner Thomas Mueller, who, at 20, must be one of the most exciting players to emerge for many years.

Diego Forlan, the Golden Ball winner, was a lethal marksman here but is he really the best footballer in the world? David Villa showed why Barcelona paid £34m for him, even at the age of 29, while it was fitting that the brilliant Andres Iniesta should turn from creator to match-winner in the final against a depressingly cynical Dutch team.

The debate over why the players with the biggest reputations - Wayne Rooney, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and, to a certain extent, Lionel Messi - did not perform will probably rage until the next World Cup.

Was it the Jabulani ball, the long European season, poor management or the altitude changes in South Africa?

A more considered explanation comes from greater footballing experts than this correspondent who say this has been the tournament of the team rather than the individual. Coaches like Vicente del Bosque, who sacrifices individual ego for the sake of the greater cause, and Oscar Tabarez of Uruguay have shown what organisation and discipline can achieve.

Even the smaller nations such as South Korea and Japan have advanced and shown they can compete with the bigger countries.

"There might be small countries but there is no such thing as small national teams any more," said Fifa president Sepp Blatter on Monday. He also gave South Africa nine out of 10 for the way they have organised this event.

So what have we learned from this World Cup?

That whatever happens on the pitch the unique atmosphere and sense of history that has pervaded the entire tournament will be hard to match wherever it goes in the future.

As with the Beijing Olympics two years ago - but for far less sinister reasons, it must be pointed out - this felt like a nation's coming out party, a chance to show off to the world. And it was a joy, and a privilege, to be here to witness it.

No man did more to bring the World Cup to Africa for the first time than former president Nelson Mandela - and his appearance at the age of 91 in Soccer City on Sunday reminded everyone of the power of football.

But the last month has also left a nagging feeling about the scale of the World Cup - the overbearing commercialism, the number of teams and the huge demands it places on a host nation.

Brazil is up next in 2014 and already there are serious concerns about the state of the country's preparations. Jerome Valcke, the general secretary of Fifa, has played a major role in ensuring the success of this World Cup. He knows he has to do it all over again.

He summed up the scale of the task on Monday when he said, somewhat tongue in cheek: "The main problem is we have to build some stadiums, some roads......some airports, some accommodation. So it's just business as usual."

Ultimately, the prospect of a World Cup in the warmer climes of Brazil is a mouth-watering prospect - especially after a winter tournament which ended up feeling like Euro 2010 on safari.

And most people will hope the home of the beautiful game will inspire a more thrilling football spectacle in four years time.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    you are seriously deluding yourself if you think this has been a good world cup

    a team scoring i think 8 goals all tournament has won the world cup

    i cant think of any match which has stood out for me.;

    the constant praise of spain was getting too much at the end from the bbc tv coverage team

    ive watched about lets say 4 tournaments now properly with interest and this has been the worst one.

    i dont know what linekar et al were watching when they said its been one of the best world cups.

    shearer is a dull a pundit as hansen. they both come out with ridiculous predictions and then get them wrong

    hansen said germany are man for man weaker than england LOL
    shearer getting excited over england beating slovakia 1-0 and said they wil get stronger from here. again a joke

    overall nothing really to enjoy about this world cup.

    and spare me the garbage about ghana getting to the quarter finals and how they represented AFRICA and how they were everyones favorite team

    you and i know the real winners of this world cup is the bank accounts of the fifa officials. end of

  • Comment number 2.

    A shame about the feeble England performances, and about the poor refereeing, and the dodgy ball, and the low number of goals.

    But never mind all that.

    Alan Hansen's words: "The best thing about this World Cup so far has been the atmosphere in South Africa - all the major tournaments I've been to, or played at, pale into insignificance in comparison."

  • Comment number 3.

    An interesting read this and I agree with most of it.

    Personally, I think it's been an enjoyable World Cup overall. It's certainly not been the best in terms of the quality of matches but there's been some good matches and plenty of unexpected outcomes have outcurred, some of which have been great to see unfold (teams like Uruguay, Ghana and Paraguay exceeding expectations, seeing shocks such as Italy getting knocked out of the group stage etc).

    The atmosphere appears to have been brilliant based on watching the matches on TV, although I'm sure it pales in comparison to how amazing the atmosphere must have felt for those who were actually there.

    In terms of an explanation as to things such as many big name players under-performing and the quality of many matches not living up to expectations, I think a significant part of this is the result of the playing field becoming more even in International Football, although it was still a large number of big players under-performing for any tournament. I'd be surprised if it goes quite to that extreme in Brazil, probably just a one-off.

    To be specific, it's the way of playing that many Nations are using to compete better and that is by playing more cautious Football. Those who have been watching matches on BBC are probably sick of Alan Hansen talking about "2 banks of 4" but we've seen it so often in this tournament and for better or worse it's proven to be very effective, with Switzerland's 1-0 win over Spain probably being the greatest example of the rewards possible from playing that way.

    Like with anything though, teams in the next few years will probably get better at beating teams who play in such a cautious way and it will no longer be as common as it is right now. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking!

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Before this turns into a festival for people complaining about vuvuzelas (Don't worry, you will NOT have to put up with them at your next match, precious), or predicting White Elephant doom for the stadiums, or telling SA taxpayers how they might have better spent their money, or raging against the fact that FIFA dared to make money from the event, allow me to quote this excellent post by 'OviZA' from another BBC thread:

    "For us in South Africa, this has been an amazing opportunity and experience.

    It has shown us that we don't have to stand back for anyone, that we are just as capable as any other country. It has created social cohesion within our society the likes of which we have never before experienced. It has helped spur the creation of world class infrastructure that otherwise may have taken many more years to materialise. It has shown ordinary South Africans that government CAN deliver properly and hopefully we'll be better able to hold it to account in the future. 0

    We'll not be paying this off for years to come - we have a fiscally responsible government and much of the investment was investment that would have happened anyway (it was just moved forward). Unlike European countries, we're not teetering on the brink of fiscal disaster. And yes, we have massive developmental backlogs, but if people commenting here had any idea how far we'd already come in terms of housing, electricity, water, sanitation etc, maybe they'd be a bit less 'concerned' for us.

    What this has shown me personally, through reading media coverage and forums like this, is how cynical and mean-spirited so many people remain about South Africa and Africa generally. Rather disappointing really..."

  • Comment number 6.

    Its been a poor world cup on so many levels, but let me start with the positives, the hosts South Africa appear (I cant say with certainty as I've not been out there) to have put on a superb event, with no issues to speak of. The atmosphere at games, and in the host cities has looked amazing which in part is down to the organizers, but primarily the hosts and the visiting fans.

    Now.. The countless negatives, firstly as a spectacle the world cup has been awful, too many teams playing negative "at least we won't lose" football, even in the final you had two teams content to go sideways or backwards 9 out of 10 passes, its effective but extremely boring. Cheating, I would wager that there have been more instances of blatant cheating than individual brilliance at this world cup. The increase of players cynicism, waving invisible cards and surrounding the officials at every given oppurtunity (hello Spain), while it could be argued the Dutch applied their Cynicism in a much more brutal fashion, they really didnt need to, the Spanish would have been content to dive off the park with out being kicked off it.

    Many of these things already blight our domestic game and the Champions League, isn't it time we started stamping out blatant cheating? FIFA had the perfect chance to send a message out, but instead of increasing Luis Suarez' ban they let him play in the 3rd/4th Playoff, for someone like myself, who at 23 is falling out of love with the game more and more everyday (Being a Leeds season ticket holder and Wales fan at international level has done me no favours) it is increasingly disheartening to see the powers that be do nothing about things they could change.

    I believe it to be a sad fact that the beatiful game is dying a slow and hideous death, this World Cup just served further to prove that point.

  • Comment number 7.

    It may not have been the best world cup, football-wise, but for an Irish man, watching France embarass themselves both on and off the pitch made it one of the more enjoyable world cups.

  • Comment number 8.

    As a South African I'll be slightly biased of course but I've managed to watch pretty much all the games in this World Cup and it's certainly been one of the better ones I've seen. If England had played better or gone further then I have no doubt most folks on here would say it's been a great world cup. I myself have always supported England in football so was very disappointed to see them go out early although admit they were beaten by a better side.

    The first round of games certainly were not awe inspiring with too many teams playing it safe but I believe the ball did play a part, especially in the early rounds. The number of incomplete passes or free kicks going over the bar were just far to many to put down to other reasons. Surely they should introduce the ball into the leagues at least a year before the world cup?

  • Comment number 9.

    Anyone that says this cup was better or worse than previous world cups has a short memory or just remembers the better parts. All the time before and after the world cup there is someone complaining about the ball, about the way every team defended, etc. This is just how world cups are! Nobody wants to lose, and they all defend. Please tell how many scintillating matches do you remember from any of the last world cups. For me, apart from 1986 which was just wonderful with Maradona and everything, all the following world cups have been more or less the same. 1990 was the worst ever, no question. 1994 had a couple of nice games (NED-BRA, BUL-GER), goals (bergkamp, hagi). 1998 was somewhat better with Owen's goal wonderful Croatians and DUtch, but they did not win. 2002 was also quite boring apart from a couple of surprising teams (SEN, TUR, KOR). 2006 the same. So get on with it... This is how world cups are and how will they be. Try to enjoy the a couple of good matches it offers and get in the mmod, otherwise you will end up complaining for much longer.

  • Comment number 10.

    Boring world cup, glad it's over...and I live in Spain!

  • Comment number 11.

    It may not be the best World Cup or maybe it is for many who have actually had the chance of being a part of it.

    I just wanted to add: TO ALL THOSE PESSIMESTS WHO HAD LAMBASTED SA WHETHER FROM THE ENGLISH TABLOIDS TO AUSTRALIA, We did it, I was there. Ke Nako! I am proud to be South African, and proud to be living in this beautiful country. I may not be black, I may not be white but I am proudly South African.

    Some of you can now go and hang your heads in shame, cos your fellow country men simply had the experience of two lifetimes.

  • Comment number 12.

    "Some of my BBC colleagues were mugged in Johannesburg.
    But fears about crime and security were largely unfounded."
    ________________________________________________________________________
    I'm sure your BBC colleagues might disagree.

    As for the rest of the blog.:
    A great World Cup? I can only presume its the first you've seen.
    You seem to have this romantic view that somehow having the World Cup descend on a country for a month will change it for the better for ever.
    It won't.
    Many people made an awful lot of money out of the competition but that does not mean that the general public's quality of life will change one iota.


  • Comment number 13.

    Most of the ugly spectacles in this world cup have been from European teams. France players behaving like spoilt kids (I won't even mention how they got to the world cup), England team underrating their opponents (Overrating themselves) to their own peril, the Dutch-Spanish fiasco that was a shame to the world cup and then you try to make it sound like it was South Africa's fault.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    To be fair, the Durban airport fiasco was caused by FIFA VIP private jets refusing to move for 'normal' flights.

    Still, shouldn't ahve happened.

  • Comment number 16.

    If South Africans feel that the World Cup has been positive for their country then that's fine, but nothing can alter the fact that this was a desperately average World Cup - and I am not an England fan, so their embarassing exit neither bothered nor surprised me.

    Too many individuals and some teams simply underperformed and the reality is that the tournament came at the end of a long and arduous northern hemisphere season, following which too many players had nothing left in the tank...and not just the 'stars' either.

    To my way of thinking, there were no real classic encounters. Only a few players - Forlan, Schweinsteiger, Snejder, Ozil, plus a few more - emerged from the tournament with their reputation enhanced. The Final - an awful game throughout - was contested between two teams who threatened to - but never did - catch fire in the tournament. Pele's prediction of an African team winning the trophy looks as far away as ever.

    I won't miss the BBC's series of patronising mini-features on life in South Africa- how flesh-crawlingly embarasssing were they? Nor will I miss the wretched vuvuzela - remind us to send you something in exchange for that...how about the entire Big Brother house? They're not quite as noisy but every bit as irritating....and we'll throw in the smug BBC panel of Lineker, Hansen & Shearer as well!

  • Comment number 17.

    " But for the millions - make that billions - who watched this tournament on television around the world there is a sense that the quality of the football was underwhelming.

    Part of that may be explained by England's abject performance in South Africa. Had Fabio Capello's team played better and made it past Germany in the second round then people in England may have felt differently"

    Hilarious, you think that the millions who tuned in did so to watch England? Hilarious. I can't stop laughing. The football was in fact excellent. Fears about South Africas ability are born in predjudice and ignorance, nothing else. For those knocking the 8 goals scored, don't forget that's all England managed when they won the world cup and 4 of those were in one game.

  • Comment number 18.

    #17 - most of the millions in England who tuned in did so to watch - ENGLAND so our impression of how good the world cup was is influenced by England's performance. That aside teh standard of football overall was poor with a very low goal ratio and apart from a handful of games generally uninspiring flat performances. The only teams to really come away with heads held high in terms of good performances were Germany and New Zealand (who were the only unbeaten team of the tournament). Spain may have won but they were hardly entertaining for most of it.

    Feel free to disagree at http://adampsb.blogspot.com/2010/07/patience-of-saint.html

  • Comment number 19.

    I'll be back in 4 years time. The best 4 weeks in life. Fantastic to see so much of the world represented in body and soul in one small spot on the globe. And I really enjoyed the local culture, colour and debate. The ball spoiled the games themselves so that's one punch in the gob for FIFA, though one positive was this seemed to benefit the teams with good close control and who kept the ball on the ground, hopefully giving England the kick up the backside we need....On second thoughts, maybe that's hoping for too much. Back to the bread and butter now.

  • Comment number 20.

    Go back to South Africa in 18 months to decide which way the stadiums versus houses debate was sorted.

    At least two, and possibly three of the stadiums will be 'white elephants' which won't even be maintained because of the costs. As for crime levels, well if they can get it under control for 6 weeks of one year, how about doing it for the other 46?

  • Comment number 21.

    @1 "a team scoring i think 8 goals all tournament has won the world cup"

    Sorry, but to complain about lack of goals fails to recognise the defender's art. It's a bit like watching a maiden over in a test match and complaining that no one's hit a boundary.

  • Comment number 22.

    For myself, I've probably enjoyed this World Cup more than I have others for the past few years. I didn't get involved in the media driven frenzy that made England a pre World Cup favourite, and so watched near enough 60 games of football, almost as a neutral.

    OK, like many the quality of football wasn't great, and debates such as this one will rage for years to come as to what the reason for that was. Be it, tirednes (Hey Uefa take note... no one complained of being this tired prior to you introducing the league stages of the UEFA and European cups), the ball, the change in altitude etc, the excuses and debate will go on. However, the fact that going into the final round of group games, most groups had all teams with a chance of qualifying meant that most games were meaningful. You don't need a game to be end to end and having a basketball type scoreline to make it good. A 0-0 can be an excellent game, and 1-0 can win you the world cup itself.

    Seeing the smaller nations challenge the "norm" at World Cups is beautiful, with such traditional power houses like France and Italy leaving the just a little earlier than the English, we were entering almost a new world order in football terms. We all remember with joy Roger Milla in the 1990 World Cup, and how Cameroon went on a fairy tale adventures, others did the same here. It was that what made this a wonderful world cup.

    I'm hoping of course that 2014, will bring us a dazzling world cup, full of fantastic individual and team football, that the Ronaldo's, Messi and Rooney show the world what they can do. However if they do that then it's likely the underdogs won't shine as brightly as they have done this time, and to be honest, we Brits do love the underdog don't we.

  • Comment number 23.

    I just cant see how this rates as a good world cup. The football was shocking in the most part - I genuinely can't remember a decent game other than maybe Spain v Chile in the first half or perhaps Argentina v Germany (although that wasn't great, it just had some goals.) The tactics were nearly always negative, no players really stood out as world beaters other than the Spanish trio and the host nation didnt get past the first round! I am a football lover and I couldn't be bothered to watch most of the 2nd halves after what I had witnessed in the first 45 mins.

  • Comment number 24.

    Dear Editor,
    Your views,analysis, comments from many users of this great news channels are praise worthy.
    Even though, i am very much interested in Tennis and Cricket, this time, i have concentrated more hours by watching all quarter,semi final and final outcome.
    Once upon a time, No recognized players on many sports fields were not able to go to South Africa, some participations of sports events were not recognized by world accepted in total.
    Now,everything has been welcomed changes.
    Back to semi final, that matches were in good spirits, more likeness than final match between Spain and Netherlands.
    Still, i am not able to come out from my anger,frustration on England, Brazil,Germany, Argentina!s poor performances to this world cup football matches.
    Very good arrangements, good hospitality,very good earning in foreign exchanges, income from world sports lovers,sports fans and from more tourist traffic.
    daily, i used to discuss of this world events with my South African friends in face book and in twitter websites.
    Already written many valuable words by expressions of thanks, well judged crows, traffic arrangements, and well mannered set up and so on to many news channels and to social websites.
    All my writings were published.
    BBC!s Rainbow nations coverages, comments, BBC sports correspondent who had permanently at cape Town, Daily special sports news, !5 minutes for special coverage of this great,long cherished memorable happenings by BBC will be appreciated,recognized by every body.
    I hope that, same interests, more arrangements, easy access to sports venues, government as well as peoples cooperations will be on card during Olympic games at London.
    There should be changes in applications on body exercises, pushing and pulling, unnecessary arguments, some anger,frustrated signs will be to barest minimum levels in forthcoming Olympic games at London.
    Again, congratulations to South Africans, BBC world services roles, coverages, fine videos, fine comments from various segments and from sports editors, sports correspondents and to entire BBC team works.,
    Spain is bad in day today bad in economics.
    After winning of this world cup football, Spain will be a main subject for many more months to world scenes.

  • Comment number 25.

    Poor world cup due mainly to the ball and bouncy pitches making it hard for individuals to shine.

    As for "crime and security concerns were largely unfounded" - I'd be very interested to know how many people have been processed by the "world cup court" during / after this tournament as it seems every returning English fan has a story of someone they know / had met getting robbed at knife point.

  • Comment number 26.

    21. At 08:59am on 13 Jul 2010, Mr3enn wrote:

    @1 "a team scoring i think 8 goals all tournament has won the world cup"

    Sorry, but to complain about lack of goals fails to recognise the defender's art. It's a bit like watching a maiden over in a test match and complaining that no one's hit a boundary.

    _____________________

    Absolutely.

    It's part of each team's job to stop the opposition from playing dazzling attacking football, and if they do, they should get the recognition they deserve.

    There's no such thing as being negative - you develop tactics that play to your strengths and might help you win, and if they do, that's positive.

    Reading all the complaints about the lack of goals makes one think that these complainers would be better off watching basketball or something.
    Although then they would complain if teams didn't score 100 points each match.

    Try to educate yourselves about football before spouting off in public.

    2010 was fantastic, will be remembered as a very good tournament.
    And given the context, which you admittedly need a smidgeon of imagination to appreciate, it may even have been a great one.

  • Comment number 27.

    Hilarious, you think that the millions who tuned in did so to watch England? Hilarious. I can't stop laughing. The football was in fact excellent. Fears about South Africas ability are born in predjudice and ignorance, nothing else. For those knocking the 8 goals scored, don't forget that's all England managed when they won the world cup and 4 of those were in one game.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    No England scored more than 8 in 1966 thank you -
    0-0 Uruguay
    2-0 Mexico
    2-0 France
    1-0 Argentina
    2-1 Portugal
    4-2 West Germany
    I make that 11 (ELEVEN) goals scored by England. I however will not be knocking Spain for scoring only 8 - that is immaterial. They did enough to win.

  • Comment number 28.

    England going out so miserably has obviously cast a shadow over this World Cup in most people's eyes, but objectively speaking it has been a great World Cup - especially in the knock-out stage. I agree that the group stage was poor but the tournament got better and better when it mattered most and for the knock-out stage this has been one of the highest scoring World Cups for many years - 39 goals (excluding the third place play-off) compared to 26 in both 2002 and 2006. The 10 goals scored in the quarter-finals betters the totals from the same stage in both 1958 and 1962 when goals flowed more freely. I think there can be no doubt that the cooler weather played a significant part in making the latter stages more entertaining. The lack of star players has also been stated as a reason that this was a poor World Cup. It's a fair point but football is first and foremost a team game. I suspect that if it had been England bringing the World Cup home and not Spain, it would be portrayed as the greatest World Cup ever!

  • Comment number 29.

    It has been a great tournament. I don't know what to do with myself now that its over.

    Why are all these people still negative about South Africa and the world cup. Now they are picking on those stupid horns.

  • Comment number 30.

    27. At 09:38am on 13 Jul 2010, rseman wrote:

    No England scored more than 8 in 1966 thank you -

    ___________________

    As you say, England scored 11 (counting the one that wasn't over the line).

    W.Germany scored 15

    England won the cup - is anyone going to say they didn't deserve it because they scored fewer than Germany?

  • Comment number 31.

    But the last month has also left a nagging feeling about the scale of the World Cup - the overbearing commercialism, the number of teams and the huge demands it places on a host nation.

    Sport IS business and as long as FIFA's pockets are lined they're the long-term winners.

    South Africa is basking in the glow of a successful event but the price as ever will always be too high. South Africa got in there before the global financial meltdown, Brazil on the other hand are slap bang in the middle of it as is London for 2012.

    I love sport but it is the public that pay NOT FIFA or the IOC they PROFIT.

  • Comment number 32.

    What this world cup has shown is we as people should stand up and help the cause of those who are in real need, impoverished with skills, lack of mental judgment and so scared... Yes im talking about our very own 'Golden Generation', its liberating when you finally realise there are other footballing philosophies, other cultures which rejoice what they have and give it a good go. South Africa was that experience. Lets hope we never see England play tournament football again.

  • Comment number 33.

    "But the last month has also left a nagging feeling about the scale of the World Cup - the overbearing commercialism, the number of teams and the huge demands it places on a host nation."

    The World Cup is about Fifa making money first and foremost [90%+ profit margins?], so that they can continue to operate for the 4 years interim. The commerciality of it really is taking over from the football.

    I don't necessarily want a smaller tournament [the more matches the better!], but the excess of corporate seating [mostly left embarrassingly empty] and the commercial exclusion zones around the grounds left a sour taste.

  • Comment number 34.

    For me the only good thing has been that it has concluded. Good to note that it went off without a major mishap, except the perpetual vuvzelan puerility.

    The teams that were pleasing on the eye were the Uruguayans and the Germans. I am sure we will see more of the two. Ghana could also rid themselves of some kinks and become a true front line outfit.

    Jabulani and the refereeing standards have been sore letdowns in equal measure. Refusal to acknowledge Lampard goal will remain an everlasting stigma on the bureaucratic inertia obtusely displayed by FIFA. It is amazing how undynamic the organisation can get; a slave in love with its own fetters.

    My future sadness stems from the fact that I will never be able to review even the good games on account of the insufferable noise pollution Fifa were so glad to have been so tolerant of. Who knows why? May be Sepp was on a mission to gain universal acceptance in placating the African bloc. He has surely forfeited the respect of ordinary lover of the game.

  • Comment number 35.

    Lots of very interesting points there David, but just taking your main headline 'South Africa and the World Cup changed forever,' I think it's very early to make a call? From the U.K.'s perspective it's very hard to notice a radical shift in public opinion as we've always had strong social, sporting and political ties with the country anyway and many British fans are familiar with travelling there with the Rugby, Cricket, business and family. For the W.C. and the continent as a whole - I think S.A. is considerably different than Northern, Western, Central or Eastern Africa both culturally and economically to generalise too much about whether Fifa will be sending it to other parts that soon..in some ways S.A. was a safe bet (it has hosted many events before).

    The organisation and stadia were generally excellent 'seen from far' but I hope the money spent will leave a tangible and noticeable legacy to help the poorer South Africans and not just the wealthy and we are not caught up in the colour and races - "isn't it wonderful" - talk? Football always breaks down cultural barriers..it's a given!

    The football was pretty disappointing but that could be a lot due to England's dire performances creating a downer.

    We had the Vuvuzelas and notice Mr.Blatter comments saying the W.C.Final crowd were still blowing them even though 'less than 50% of the attendance were South Africans'. That says a lot of things on many different levels.

  • Comment number 36.

    The original point of the post is spot on. The tournament itself was largely a success. It raised South Africa's profile in an extremely positive way, it had a more spontaneous feel than the last few WC's. If the corporates didn't turn up in numbers, who cares ? Maybe FIFA should try and sell more tickets to fans who will:

    a) actually bother to turn up
    b) enjoy themselves

    The football though was patchy at best. Think about what you remember from previous WC's, the great goals, the great games and this one prob won't be that high up, not up with 1978 or 1986 anyway.

    Finally, if the UK and other Governments can embrace technology to become more transparent about how & why things are done, maybe Sepp Blatter could as well. My list of requests:

    1) Stop making the World Cup all about money. You're not a commercial organisation so stop acting like one. Focus on improving your product
    2) Stop messing about with the ball, no-one cares it's a Jabberwocky V268b made by Adidas specially for this tournament
    3) Set up a ticket exchange facility so fans who already have tickets can buy and sell (at face value) with fans from other countries when their teams are knocked out or achieve an unexpected outcome

    i.e. think about your customers not just your paymasters

  • Comment number 37.

    I think most of the negativity (doom and gloom) was from the British tabliods. Right from January (ANC) they tried and failed to put down SA. They even went as far as sending their top man to SA who hired a low life to penetrate the England dressing room - all for a tabliod story (that failed as well) Sure some matches were not exciting (especially the first week)and the final was more of a karate match than a classic. But we cannot deny SA in the way they produced an excellent world cup. I know they have plans to keep the stadiums in constant use (something Greece and Australia failed to do after the olympics) and are considering putting a bid for the 2022 olympics

  • Comment number 38.

    #5 Nice quote

  • Comment number 39.

    Excellent post collie21 #17 - and even one of those goals England scored wasn't!

    In general I think people have short memories when they criticise the standard of football because Italy never played the greatest football in the last world cup. The final is almost always an anti-climax in any case as it was in 2002 as well when Brazil won it. And this always taints our lasting memories of the event.

    Clearly not just England not progressing far (although par for the course surely now?) but France and Italy not progressing from the qualifiers changed the nature of the tournament and the lack of flair you expect from Brazil affected it. Losing these teams changes people's preconceptions of the football so they have to appreciate football without the big stars Messi, Rooney and Ronaldo at the centre of it. It can be hard to make that adjustment.

    On Brazil I was so pleased Dunga was sacked despite them possibly being one of the two best teams in the tournament. This was just not the Brazil I for one wanted to see.

    Also Argentina's lack of organisation prevented us seeing the best of Messi and Higuain.

    However, Germany's and Ghana's teamplay has been great to watch and reminds of us how flowing football can be played when played simply and as a team. And Spain, maybe not high scorers, ultimately achieved over the anti football of Holland. So overall not a bad tournament even at a football level. Not the greatest nor the worst.

    In terms of the atmosphere probably one of the best and as a statement for Africa as a continent a fantastic boost as the first major world sporting event (sorry I don't count cricket and rugby world cups) held on the continent and hopefully adds another brick of belief that they can achieve on a global scale despite the huge problems many people in South Africa encounter daily. This is a big step in the right direction. And those who question if the atmosphere was good might let me know what marked out Korea or Germany as better.

    France 98 I thought was fantastic but South Africa made a better than average stab at it. And surely that is a lot better than the disaster that many predicted.

    So well done South Africa for a better than average World Cup;)

  • Comment number 40.

    It wasn't a great World Cup and that is a shame. Not sure what was the problem but the final really capped it.

    I'm sure that it was well run and the atmosphere seemed good via the TV but the football was a let down. Rooney, Kaka, Messi, Torres, Drogba were all poor.

    Too much cynical and negative football was played.

  • Comment number 41.

    @36

    In a way FIFA are a commercial organisation, and a lot of the money the get from the world cup goes back into the game at lower levels. The tournament is vital to football in moneymaking terms.

  • Comment number 42.

    New Zealand were the only unbeaten team in the world cup!

    How about that?

  • Comment number 43.

    #34 A gooner complaining about noise pollution at a football match. I knew it LOL!

  • Comment number 44.

    Please Mr. Bond and the rest of you, Stop your whinning! This was a beautiful event even if your team did not win. This event may be about winning, but really it's all about the competition and the sportmanship. There were some good teams, but truly, not one team that dominated them all. There were some great players, Golden Boot winner Thomas Mueller and Diego Forlan, the Golden Ball winner, truly deserve those tittles. So stop complaining, it just makes you look bad just because your team-country did not win.

  • Comment number 45.

    Is Diego Forlan the best player in the world? No. But no-one said he was. What he is, is an outstanding footballer in the form of his life, who throughly deserves to be rewarded for a competition in which he has excelled throughout.

    Oh, and although I have sympathy for anyone who has been mugged, the same could happen (and probably will, to someone) when the world descends on London in two summers' time. And the transport chaos will inevitably be far worse.

  • Comment number 46.

    "The debate over why the players with the biggest reputations - Wayne Rooney, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and, to a certain extent, Lionel Messi - did not perform will probably rage until the next World Cup."


    All of whose sides fell apart in their first knockout game against capable opposition. Remember, whatever Sky tell you, it remains a team game, and no one player can entirely overcome the flaws around him (particularly if, as with Kaka and probably Rooney, they really weren't fit).

    On the other hand, Wesley Sneijder, Bastien Schweinsteiger, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Arjen Robben and Diego Forlan all lived up to, and some perhaps even exceeded their fine reputations after long and demanding seasons. Why? Because unlike those with 'big reputations' who struggled, they were all in sides that had quality throughout.

  • Comment number 47.

    USA 1994 was a farce; S.Africa 2010 has been a fiasco. The commercalism was smothering. The "Jabulina" ball belonged in a circus act. FIFA's "Fair Play" campaign has become a hypocritical sick joke. Blatant cheating and thuggery on the pitch are the legacies of 2010.

  • Comment number 48.

    what you guys should remember is that has the world cup goes on for years to come there is going to be alot of expectations on teams to win the cup and there can only be one... So what happens is that teams becomes defensive and defences win world cups!!! Almost all teams played with 1 striker but because the spanish played collectively and bear in mind that how they play at barca fc became triumphant. Why only 8 goals bevause when you have to stop at least 8players the opposition going to 'park the plane' in front of goal to stop them. Why cant the superstars stand out? Week in and out for nine months they play with superstars but once they come to international level they dont have those class players behind them. Money is killing off englands chances does england have a next generation of players? If so are they going to be world class players? As good as a spectacle the premier league is the fa should put a limit on each team or the likes of the future rooneys and lampards will be a thing of the past... South africa 2010 was an experience of a lifetime. Being their for each game at cape town stadium was amazing... Fan walk the atmosphere the fans of all teams that was competing there was amazing!! Yes due to negative media before the tournament didnt stand well but the way this nation came out to party and organise this event was trully spectacular!!! Viva south africa viva!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    what you guys should remember is that has the world cup goes on for years to come there is going to be alot of expectations on teams to win the cup and there can only be one...

    So what happens is that teams becomes defensive and defences win world cups!!! Almost all teams played with 1 striker but because the spanish played collectively and bear in mind that how they play at barca fc became triumphant.

    Why only 8 goals bevause when you have to stop at least 8players the opposition going to 'park the plane' in front of goal to stop them.

    Why cant the superstars stand out? Week in and out for nine months they play with superstars but once they come to international level they dont have those class players behind them.

    Money is killing off englands chances does england have a next generation of players? If so are they going to be world class players? As good as a spectacle the premier league is the fa should put a limit on each team or the likes of the future rooneys and lampards will be a thing of the past...

    South africa 2010 was an experience of a lifetime. Being their for each game at cape town stadium was amazing... Fan walk the atmosphere the fans of all teams that was competing there was amazing!! Yes due to negative media before the tournament didnt stand well but the way this nation came out to party and organise this event was trully spectacular!!!

    Viva south africa viva!!!

  • Comment number 50.

    I'm already looking forward to the next World Cup in Brazil. I'm really hoping that Haiti can qualify as it would provide a tremendous lift to that nation's people after the devastating earthquake there. Haitians adore football, have a close affinity with the Brazilian team and 2014 will mark 40 years since their one and only World Cup appearance. The infrastructure of football in Haiti was greatly disrupted by the tragedy earlier this year, but with the Carribean Cup coming up this proud football nation can begin to re-build and give everything to qualify for WC 2014.

    I have written a blog on Haiti's 1974 World Cup team. It can be found at www.haiti1974.blogspot.com

  • Comment number 51.

    Beijing was far more sinister? It was the same thing in another country. Please.

  • Comment number 52.

    #47
    USA 1994 was a farce; S.Africa 2010 has been a fiasco...Blatant cheating and thuggery on the pitch are the legacies of 2010.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    USA 1994 a farce? In what ways?

    And how was the 'cheating and thuggery' in SA 2010 different from any other WC?

    It wasn't a great WC I agree but it was very enjoyable to watch on the whole and there were some very good games from the likes of Uruguay, Germany, Paraguay, Chile, Ghana, Argentina and Holland.

  • Comment number 53.

    One thing above all else has been proven conclusively this world cup, FIFA are unfit for purpose.
    Unfit that is, if their purpose is to protect the integrity of the game and remove all that blights it.
    They have made a mockery out of their own "fair play" ideals by allowing cheating to develop into the norm, the best divers, the dirtyest players, the most cynical cheats are now the most successful players and the "best" teams.

    If on the other hand FIFAs remit is simply to make obscene amounts of money, destroy long held fair trade agreements and to alienate a large percentage of fans by continuing to live in the dark ages and blatantly lie to all and sundry at every opportunity, then they are a resounding success.

  • Comment number 54.

    I'm pleased for the people of South Africa and for all the benefits that hosting this World Cup should bring. The Rugby World Cup in 1995 and now this shows to the world that South Africa can compete with anyone when it comes to hosting such events. This would have been unthinkable just twenty years ago.
    As for the football; technically it may have been OK, but as for excitement it was generally poor. I get more enjoyment watching teams play on Hackney Marshes on a Sunday morning!

  • Comment number 55.

    "But the more important and enduring legacy - one which cannot be defined by buildings or new train lines - is the boost to South Africa's international image".

    ===================================================

    It's not going to feed, house, create jobs or clothe people - is it?

  • Comment number 56.

    "As with the Beijing Olympics two years ago - but for far less sinister reasons, it must be pointed out - this felt like a nation's coming out party, a chance to show off to the world."

    I think you mean a coming of age party. I'm not too sure "coming out" is something that is generally celebrated and especially not in Africa. From what I remember, they don't approve of that sort of thing there…

    :)

    Humour aside, I'd just like to congratulate the BBC Sport team. Your coverage, across all media, really was a landmark performance that set a yet greater benchmark in presenting a major sporting event.

    In the special circumstances of a uniquely African tournament, I was genuinely stunned by the calibre of so many of the packages. Some joyful, some educational and others deeply moving, perhaps even controversial, but in every respect delivered in a thoroughly engaging, professional and dignified manner.

    It's what the BBC is all about and you should be as rightly proud as many of us are grateful that we still have a BBC in these overtly commercially led times.

    Well done!

  • Comment number 57.

    "But for the millions - make that billions - who watched this tournament on television around the world there is a sense that the quality of the football was underwhelming.

    Part of that may be explained by England's abject performance in South Africa."

    What a load of jaded, deluded ol' rubbish. When will you learn that no one outside your own country gives a toss about your national team?

    And the only reason the boys on the BBC panel are so doe-eyed toward the Spanish is because Spain are about the only big team left that haven't been involved in a game that's ended in some sort of controversy, or bitter defeat for England. The ONLY reason.

  • Comment number 58.

    #57 'no one outside your own country gives a toss about your national team?'

    Seems funny how everyone likes to comment on them though heh?

    Not suggesting any of the BBC panel have invested in any property in Spain, enjoy frequent golfing trips to La Manga and in Gary's case played for Barca ;)...but apart from that they have no reason for any favouritism.

    ...just stirring...don't take it too seriously ;) - Spain were worthy winners and the vast majority agree. After all the goal was made in North London.

  • Comment number 59.

    I think the tournament was actually very good, with a cheerful atmosphere, plenty of shocks, e.g South Africa vs France, Switzerland vs Spain, Germany vs Argentina, Serbia vs Germany, though I reckon it was more the long european season, or long premier league/La liga (?) season, as Germany and the Netherlands (ignoring the final) had mostly drawn on talented players from the Bundesliga and Serie A, both of which have winter breaks. Spain were rarely at their utterly scintialating best, but won through team spirit, organisation and bucket loads of innate talent. England looked burnt out unfit, e.g Rooney in particular.

  • Comment number 60.

    South Africa and the World Cup have NOT been changed forever. S. Africa are hugely in debt as a result of hosting this World Cup. The euphoria will disappear and I doubt there will be much lasting effect on tourism or business. It's too far away and too expensive to get there. Hopefully the vuvuzelas won't feature in Brazil 2014 and we can once again hear the fans chanting, singing and celebrating goals. Goals scored by a proper ball.

  • Comment number 61.

    David - Think I would take issue with your blogg title. At least as far as the 'World Cup being changed forever' bit is concerned. I am in my sixties and have seen all the WC's since 1958 (earliest I can remember), this is one that will fade in the memory very quickly, unless you happen to be of Spanish descent.
    Its no wonder the Corporate world turned its back on the event, this might have been a 'coming of age' for South Africa in terms of hosting world mega-events, but it was an immense risk and at a high price.
    My theory of why so many top players fail to perform is that in such tournaments the room for instinctive and individual flair and creativity is very small, and seen as very high-risk; managers and coaches demand strict adherence to set plans and tactics and for many so called 'flair players' this amounts to being put into a 'mental straight-jacket' they are unable to contend with.
    However for me the most abiding memory of this WC will be that of Sepp Blatter who seemed to have forgotten that he had asked the President of South Africa to present the cup to the winning team and finished up doing the job himself, with his honoured guest looking a bit like a 'spare part'!

  • Comment number 62.

    The most exciting game of this world cup was Slovenia v USA. That perhaps says everything one needs to know about the overall quality of the tournament.

  • Comment number 63.

    #59
    ''had mostly drawn on talented players from the Bundesliga and Serie A, both of which have winter breaks.''

    Mate, they don't have serious or worthwhile winter breaks.
    Serie A has a two and a half week break over Christmas and the New Year, which is more down to their religious observance than an intentional rest for their footballers.

    The Bundesliga has a three and a half week break, partly down to player fatigue, and also because of some ropey weather conditions during the winter months in some parts of Germany.

    A winter break in England would be little more than a token 2-3 week gesture, and I personally couldn't see it improving the Premier League at all, because:

    1( a 3-week break only actually corresponds to missing two games ( which would have to be shoehorned into the calendar later in the season ), and that wouldn't exactly ease fixture congestion.

    2( Some of the players that have excelled at the World Cup, have done so after playing a large amount of games non-stop for their clubs: here's a list of appearances for the Golden Ball nominees, with the number of appearances for their clubs afterwards:

    Forlán 55
    Messi 53
    Xavi 53
    Schweinsteiger 48
    Özil 46
    Villa 45
    Iniesta 42
    Gyan 42
    Sneijder 41
    Robben 37

    And some of the England players:

    Lampard 50
    Gerrard 46
    Terry 46
    Rooney 44
    Defoe 43
    Johnson 34
    A.Cole 33


    Despite what ridicule Mr. Hansen might muster about the Golden Ball award, I think most genuine football fans would acknowledge that Diego Forlán was clearly the best player at the World Cup, thoroughly deserving of the Golden Ball, yet he had played the most club games of any comparable player.

    I think the ''they're tired'' or ''it's been a long season'' views wear a bit thin.









  • Comment number 64.

    Guff! I know the Beeb likes to keep the sports pages and news pages in general uncontroversial and unpointed, but this is pure fluff.

    "Fans would be stabbed and robbed, it was claimed. The transport system would break down and the stadiums would not be ready."

    To judge the success of the World Cup highly on the basis that it didn't decline to the level predicted by those with the worst, racially-tinged preconceptions of South Africa is a bit silly. "Nobody got stabbed!" Yes it was positive in the sense that people with these kind of views were proved wrong, that doesn't mean the event itself was positive beyond some nebulous idea of "image" and "perception".

    Given that the Westerners attending the event were given the FIFA ultra micro-managed ultra sanitized environments to habitate (see Tom Humphries at the Irish Times http://bit.ly/94NEoS ) it's no wonder people come away with some kind of "positive" view of South Africa, but it's an illusion, one ready to be shattered by one single negative news story coming out of South Africa about the myriad problems it faces. Commercial exclusion zones were there for the benefit of corporate sponsors, not visitors. If people were allowed to see a fuller picture of South Africa, a nuanced modern country with problems but also some signs of progress, THAT would be a positive step to make the cost of the World Cup worthwhile in the long term, but they weren't.

  • Comment number 65.

    Another 'rose-tinted' glasses review.
    In all, a very poor World Cup, with few games worth watching again (other than to further heap fuel to the fires of introducing technology to help match officials)

    The winners: Spain, who won the Jules Rimet trophy, and FIFA, who realised more than $2 billion in revenue (based on SA media reports). The biggest loser: South Africa, who now face the prospect of repaying more than $6.8 billion for the infrastructure needed to host the games (3 times the original estimate). This from a country where football has a significantly lower following than Rugby and Cricket

  • Comment number 66.

    the World Cup was a "breaking out" party indeed - for FIFA! They have achieved and encouraged a degree of cynicism and corruption in sporting bodies I heretofore thought was reserved for the Olympics.

  • Comment number 67.

    Good blog.
    With their participation in the bigger leagues the quality of play of footballers have greatly improved with better coaching in the so called smaller football countries. No wonder the smaller countries which had better coaching and organization eg Ghana and Uruguay did very well. For instance if the hugely talented Ivory Coast, Cameroun and Nigeria had not made the mistake of changing coaches very close to the event they would have done much better.

    Many 'fans' who lost interest or did not find the World Cup interesting found themselves in that position because their countries - England, Italy etc - did not do well. They must brace themselves because this situation will continue with future tounaments. These teams are now much more confident and know they can compete with anybody. Note that in 2006, though Ghana lost 3-0 to Brazil they actually outplayed Brazil, who felt frustrated. With better organization and coaching Big teams beware!!!!!

  • Comment number 68.

    "S. Africa are hugely in debt as a result of hosting this World Cup. The euphoria will disappear and I doubt there will be much lasting effect on tourism or business."
    The comments from some of the bloggers, needs to be displayed on toilet paper.Hosting this world cup was not an impulsive decision-careful thought and planning has been put in place more than ten years ago.Unlike some first-world countries,there will be no stadia demolished,or will the euphoria disappear,cause it has always been part of our fabric to celebrate achievements and be critical of our shortcomings.Just let us know if you can't cope with the olympics,we will gladly step in!

  • Comment number 69.

    @60 'proper ball'

    whats the guarantee that there would be a "proper ball" in 2014, probably they would bring out another light ball in the same categories as the fevernova and jabulani....maybe a suggestion of carnaval for the new ball of 2014. hopefully it does not change direction while in flight

  • Comment number 70.

    Did this dullard author even watch the world cup?

  • Comment number 71.

    Not withstanding how well the tournament was presented to the world by South Africa, it was first and foremost a terrible example of Association Football as it is played and in the 21st century. We have a 21st century game with 19th century rules and officiating.
    Clearly international soccer is not the best place to see good footbal, for that you need games at club level.
    For England to succeed they need to play as a team regularly in the Premier league and that will not happen.
    There needs to be a way to stop players cheating. Saying a bad tackle is a foul is pussyfooting with words - it is cheating, plain and simple and should not be present to the extent it is in "The Beautiful Game".
    There will be lots of do thises and so thats so here is my two pence, both taken from Ice Hockey.
    1) Any yellow card is a sin bin offense for 5 or 10 minutes (power play). Currently the yellow card means nothing except someone has to be a little more fair in their play. This will immediately stop many nasty challenges given that you might already be a man down and would go two down for a small period of time.
    2) Introduce a blue line for offside. A player cannot pass the blue line until the ball has, after that it is a free for all. When will the powers that be understand that a human being cannot look in two places at once, an ability needed by any touch judge in soccer when sorting out offside.
    AP

  • Comment number 72.

    As a professional journalist I thought you would know that the plural of the word 'stadium' is 'stadia'.

  • Comment number 73.

    South Africa and the World Cup changed forever?

    I think the potential exists for both these events, with the Tournament itself providing the catalyst. At a local level, I see and hear a belief amongst my countrymen (in general), that inidactes we can deliver and acheive. This was not the general view before the events of the last month. Whilst this in itself will not alleviate poverty and create answers to problems we have, it is a neccessary ingredient. A belief that we can deal with these issues ourselves is significantly better than a lack of self belief and then waiting for the help to be handed out. So yes the potential is there to make a difference.

    The World Cup itself - the successful (no; not everything was perfect) hosting of the event by a developing nation may allow for further brave decisions to be made by FIFA in future. I have no issue with developed or succesful nations having a bite of the cherry but it will be great if the confidence shown in SA can provide for a balanced spread of the product in future. Hopefully new regions; new talent; new styles of play etc will help to ensure that the Football we all Love does not become sterile. Maybe 2010 will therfore be a landmark!

    The Football itself was the usual mix of good, bad and ugly with regular doses of drama - all the things we love about the game. Being there - Brilliant. It was truly a fans tournament and a big up to all the Saffies that supported, cheered and danced for the players when their own fans did not turn up. This was incredible and made the atmosphere at the matches and in and around the country quite extraordinary.

    I'll be making every effort to be at Brazil 2014 (as I am sure a number of newly converted counteymen will also). And yes...when the tournament turns up in your neck of the woods somewhere out there on the planet...we are also likley to be there. So can it or has it made a difference? For sure.

  • Comment number 74.

    @72 - O RLY?

  • Comment number 75.

    Changed forever?

    Hopefully South Africa benefits financially from the competition, but I don't life has changed dramatically for the average South African?

    As for the World Cup, some blunders may lead to goal-line technology, but like other recent tournaments, it's been average rather than great. The Champions League is now football's premier competition.

    http://footballfutbolfitba.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/spain-not-boring-old-attitudes-are/

  • Comment number 76.

    @ No 12, who wrote :
    "Some of my BBC colleagues were mugged in Johannesburg.
    But fears about crime and security were largely unfounded."
    ________________________________________________________________________
    I'm sure your BBC colleagues might disagree.

    As for the rest of the blog.:
    A great World Cup? I can only presume its the first you've seen.
    You seem to have this romantic view that somehow having the World Cup descend on a country for a month will change it for the better for ever.
    It won't.
    Many people made an awful lot of money out of the competition but that does not mean that the general public's quality of life will change one iota.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Let me see if I have this straight : Nobody ever gets mugged anywhere else in the world, and specially not in YOUR home town wherever that may be? Or are your blinkers just preveting you from seeing this?

    And do I have this correct : When the Worl Cup "decends" on some European country for a month it changes their quality of life, but not that of those in some "poor undeveloped backward African country" (seems to be your unwritten words) where "that does not mean that the general public's quality of life will change one iota." (your words)

    Is that correct? Well, you may think so, but the true answer is that you could not be more incorrect.

    While I am not going to get into a long political ebate, as this is hardly the forum for it, the truth is that you have no idea about this country : distant past, recent past, present or future. While we know that we have a long long way to go, we also know that we have come a long long way in two short decades.

    Infrastructure development has been brought forward by the World Cup, and that development has created additional jobs for thousands. The new and the improved infrastructure has had a major impact o the lives of all, in whatever small way it has affected them.

    However, more importantly, and what can never be "measured", is the growth of our National Pride and self belief. We all now know, and believe, that we need not stand back and consider ourselves or our country inferior to any other. We know that we can build the infrastructure, and host a successful event. We have done it before for other sports, but we all know that the FIFA World Cup is bigger than all of them combined. Well, we have done it, so we no longer have to "listen" to the "know-it-all" people overseas who, never having been here and knowing nothing about us, proclaim that we will never be able to do it for whatever reasons they decide to dream up.

    We a a nation united, and one which has spirit, something we call "gees", and we stand back for nobody.

    I formally invite you to come over for the Olympic Games (which I truly believe we will get before too long) and see the country for yourself. Get to realy know the place, and the people.

    I met so many wonderful people from numerous countries during the past month, be it in stadiums, in pubs in shopping centres, at fan parks, or wherever and they all had the same reaction to their visit ..... seeing their smiles, the way their eyes lit up, as they spoke about the places they had been, the things they had seen, the experiences they had and the friends they had made : all these things made me a very proud South African, who got to see the beauty of our country which I take for granted, through the eyes of others.

    We are a proud and friendly nation, and welcome the opportunity the World Cup has given us to showcase ourselves to the world. We invite all to come experience it any time they choose, as we know that they will enjoy making memories that they will never forget.


  • Comment number 77.

    Here is something to consider :
    If the "big", "proper" football teams (England, Italy, France et al) perform badly; if the favourite teams are made to struggle by teams you don't know and never watch; if results do not go the way you expect, or the players on the field score less goals than you hope for; does that make the World Cup "poor" or "boring" or "uninteresting" or "unsuccessful" ....... or is that simply your personality and attitude shining through?

    Here is something for those who rave about Germany 2006 and how "boring" the football was in 2010 :

    Germany 2006 : Total goals 147
    South Africa 2010 : Total goals 145

    Maybe you "missed" the action because it did not come from the source you wanted it to?

  • Comment number 78.

    #65 This from a country where football has a significantly lower following than Rugby and Cricket

    You are showing how little you know about South Africa. Football is by some way the most popular sport in South Africa. Yes Cricket and Rugby are popular but a distant second and third to Football.

  • Comment number 79.

    Most of these comments reflect English disappointment on their team's performance, but if you ask the Germans( who quite a number admit that South Africa outdid them in stadia quality and service delivery), Uruguayans and the Spanish, they will all admit that this has been the best WC by a mile. So it depends on which point of view you judge things. And as for the football, teams the World over are getting better; which means, games will be closely fought. Spain probably are defining how football will be played for the next 15-20 years. if one can't accept that fact, then they are done. Reading through most of these comments, shows lack of appreciation for diversity. You probably need to leave the cozy shores of Dover and see what lays beyond; South Africa I suggest...

  • Comment number 80.

    FIFA and political correctness ruined this World Cup for me and millions of other football fans.

    FIFA would not allow bag pipes in Scotland, air horns in the USA, or any other device that total shut out all other sounds...BUT because this the African World Cup we make an exception.

    No Samba drums, no singing, no chanting, no crowd excitement -- only 1 month of buzzing noise. Our choice is put up with it or mute the sound -- neither a real choice.

    Astro turf is as much American culture as plastic horns are African culture BUT for the good of the game FIFA insisted Americans use real grass during the '94 cup.

    Why do we make exceptions for black people? Is that treting them as equals or is it implying inferiority?

  • Comment number 81.

    As an England fan I was appalled by our performance, but it didn't affect my views on the rest of the tournament.

    Overall I enjoyed it. I learned to accept the vuvuzelas, they gave the world cup a unique flavour and atmosphere, but I was sad that they drowned out cheers and singing.
    Regarding the football, there were no stand out games for me and many teams played in a very negative way which made many very dull to watch. The final was one of the worst I have seen, ruined by the appalling fouling of the Dutch, diving of the Spanish and the horrendous behaviour of both teams towards the referee.

    I thoroughly enjoyed watching Uruguay (apart from Suarez's handball) and Diego Forlan was a joy to watch, a true athlete and sportsman. Ghana were great to watch, South Africa were unlucky not progress, Japan look more impressive each world cup.

    For me this was a very average world cup, that was followed and reported on in such high detail due to the presence of Facebook, twitter, watching the games on the internet, chatrooms etc. Millions of people were able to voice their opinions, which seems to be negative on the whole drowning out the positives.

    Still, its the World Cup and I will always watch it!


  • Comment number 82.

    As someone who has visited SA during most UK winters since 1998, I will reserve my judgement on how the country has been changed by the World Cup.
    I plan to be back there for 3 months next winter. I know what I want to see to be convinced:

    I want to see all the african traders and market stalls back at the Green Point CT stadium Sundey Market. A great many lost their incomes for the last 3 years when the old stadium was flattened and the new one built.

    I want to see a great reduction in the shanty housing on either side of the N2 between Cape Town Airport and the City.

    I want to see a huge increase in public infrastructure in the eastern suburbs/Cape Flats.

    I would like to see an end of the unofficial social apartheid that still exists. How many Africans do you see walking around the V&A? When will you see a black driver of the council dust-cart as distinct from the other crew who collect and empty the bins?

    These are the real signs of a socially changed country moving forward together.

    Having said all that, there really is a lot going for SA if these opportunities are fully grasped. And I am always more heartened when in Durban where the people of Asian descent now have a full involvement with the economy and social structure. Jo'burg and CT have a way to go yet.

  • Comment number 83.

    Not sure what the problem was (maybe all the teams have realised that you play to win, and you do best with a decent game plan to take care of the better opponents) but it was certainly negatively affected by three things.

    First, England's sorry abject effortless performances

    Second, the damn vuvuzelas (if they turn up at English grounds, expect the idiot to need it to be extracted from them after) were a constant boring drone. I'm sure the players were sick of them too.

    Third, the as-ever awful commentators. Apparently, according to Lawrenson especially, every game is boring - no matter the skills shown. It gets very tiresome to hear some thoroughly overpaid idiot who offers very little in the way of intelligent input complain about the game they're BEING PAID to watch.

    The only reason i ever left them on was it distracted from the stupid trumpets.

  • Comment number 84.

    I have had an on going ping pong exchange of views with fivestarvilla (5). As some on who has visited South Africa I felt it was disappointing to see that not all South Africans got behind their football team. Despite giant strides taken by the country towards the eradication of racism in sport there remains an undercurrent of racial tension and an unofficial form of apartheid that is the real elephant in the room. It was the duty of all South Africans to support the country of their birth, the country that feeds them, supports them and allows enjoying all the benefits a culturally diverse rainbow nation like South Africa has to offer. It was disloyal of many South Africans to wear the colours of another nation while their own country was still in the competition.

    The football itself was poor and it was disappointing for the neutral . Once again two European countries reached the final. European teams usually tend to cancel each other out. This time the Dutch took the thuggery first started by Zidane and Materazzi in the 2006 final to a new low. It was dismal viewing. The teams that played the most exciting football and scored the most goals were Brazil, Argentina and Germany and not Netherlands or Spain.

    England was predictable despite all the hype about Capello. If England progressed beyond thequater finals they would have over achieved, what we got was about par for the course. England remain legends in the minds of only their fans and media.

    The hypocracy surrounding the Suarez “hand of god” incident was astonishing. The media wanted to lynch a young twenty three year old player (who always played with a smile on his face) for having the audacity to deny an African nation a place in the semi final while ignoring the simulation of Ivory Coast’s keita that got kaka sent off or a crunching over the top tackle that put Elano out of the tournament

    Where South Africa goes from here only time will tell

  • Comment number 85.

    Wow! A typically British optimistic post there, Terrinho Lampinho Drogbinho. Brilliant, inspirational words of merit and joy. You could change the world with an attitude like that.

    You have the audacity and nerve to publicly bash the greatest event on earth, with awful grammar, punctuation, word choice, etc, looking like a professional journalist in the process, but then you just utterly destroy your slightest chance of being taken seriously when you said..."shearer getting excited over england beating slovakia 1-0 and said they wil get stronger from here."

    England beat SLOVENIA, not Slovakia. The amount of idiots throughout the tournament who got both countries mixed up was just embarrassing, especially from a European standpoint. We're supposed to be good with Geography. Slovenia sits between Austria and Croatia, Slovakia sits between Czech Rep. and Hungary. DO your homework, come across as an intelligent person, please.

    Speaking of the Slovakians, they were the darling of the tournament, after Uruguay and Ghana. Their first WC as an independent nation and they make it to second round, giving the Dutch a nice scare too. Inspiring stuff! They were also apart of the best game of the competition, when they played Italy for second spot in the group. WHAT. A. GAME!!! 3-2. It had everything: Beautiful goals, controversy, talking points, the Slovakia fans erupting, gorgeous football. Everything.

    But, if you actually watched the tournament instead of just crying and complaining about it, you mighta seen this one.

    The 2010 World Cup in South Africa has every right to give a lifetime band to all the pessimists on the planet. It was just fantastic! More of the same in four years please. World football is changing. Europe is getting a run for it's money. South American football, African, Asian, hell...even Oceania football is sparking a small flame. Watch out Uefa, we've got some serious competition coming!

    Can't wait for the good 'ol Tartan Army to return in 2014. We'll show the world what it means to have a good time.

  • Comment number 86.

    I enjoyed this world cup although the matches were not that entertaining. All I can say is roll on brazil 2014. If there is one world cup I would want to attend it would in brazil. Beautiful climate, great beaches, ice cold beer, food is excellent and above all skimpily dressed women. What more could a fan ask for ?

  • Comment number 87.

    Re 30: The ball did cross the line - the photographic evidence proves that. The controversy is about whether all of it was inside the line; necessary in the rules to make it a legitimate goal and not proven one way or another (though admittedly doubtful), for lack of photographic evidence from the necessary angle - something goal-line technology should resolve once and for all.
    Re 36: Nice sensible comments
    The fact that the football left something to be desired (though one can legitimately question the standard in all the WCs since 1990) meant that I was able to pay more attention to the show put on by the spectators, which was magnificent! No passive TV generation this, but people from around the world who assumed in full their active responsibility to make it a very special party, with wonderful costumes, lots of colour and excellent behaviour, in victory and defeat. I congratulate you all!
    Re the cynic - don't remember the number - don't underestimate the motivational power to move a population in the right direction of a major event staged in their country that is conducted with success. From the point of view of an outsider who has been there, the WC seemed to unite and raise the spirits of the country and show them just what they're capable of, with some decent leadership. The very least outcome is that they'll not be afraid to demand that same quality of leadership applied to domestic affairs from now on. Well done SA!

  • Comment number 88.

    Re 56: Well said
    Re 63: excellent point, backed up with stats that I can only presume are correct, puts the lie to that excuse. So what is it then? Perhaps it's more a question of how individuals handle the pressure than the pressure itself. Eg, the core of the England side: Rooney had the 'hopes of an expectant nation' placed on his shoulders, and was coming back from a series of injuries that left him at less than 100%. Gerrard looked jaded all season, which maybe had more to do with his club's appalling internal problems (Torres was another major disappointment). Lampard has not performed up to scratch in an England shirt for at least 5 seasons and should be asking himself some serious questions. Then again, some players would 'die' for their national teams. And the silly own goal after a bright start can't have helped England's morale very much.
    I think the tactical straightjacket, mentioned by another contributor, is another factor. Eg: Lennon was clearly under orders to cover for Johnson's ventures upfield - something he does so very well for Spurs, and he was quite effective at it, but the result was a confusion of roles between the two and he wasn't effective on the RW, crowded out as much by his own team-mates as much as by the opposition. This led to him coming inside more than normal (where he beautifully set up Heskey), and even moving to the left wing, which was punished by taking him off and keeping him off.

  • Comment number 89.

    Re 65: the Jules Rimet was permanently won in 1970, and carelessly lost not long afterwards, by Brazil, having become the 1st team to notch their 3rd title.

  • Comment number 90.

    Re 71: like your point about the offside rule. The officiators have to see when the ball was delivered, and then look to see if anybody was in front of the defence. Inevitably, there is a time lag, and it is to their credit that they actually get it right so often, yet the errors are frequently crucial to deciding a game. This is another area where technology has to be introduced as an aid, or a rule change made. The notion came about in another era, when player fitness was nowhere near what it is today, in order to avoid a big player being stuck in the area and his team lobbing the ball to him every time they got it. The result has been a crowded midfield that makes it so much easier for defence-minded teams to stifle opponents. Perhaps offside could be applied only within the goal area, or even abolished altogether. I'm sure better minds than mine came come up with a viable alternative.

  • Comment number 91.

    The fact that the next WC will be held in Brazil has absolutely nothing to do with the quality and style of the football we are likely to see here. As the wiser contributors have pointed out, the standards have evened out and players who can consistently take on and beat defences are at a huge premium. On the plus side, this has placed more emphasis on it being a team game than ever before, with serious implications for squad preparation. Also, one can hope that FIFA will have been moved to curb dirty play and cheating over the course of these next 4 years, if they want to save the game as a spectator sport and prevent it turning into Rollerball.
    Bear in mind that it's winter here too now, and below the Tropic of Capricorn can be quite chilly (the south of Paraná registered a record low of -5.7 degrees yesterday). However, that won't prevent it being a real treat for the fans, who with this 2010 WC have re-established their rightful place at the centre of the sport. So book your tickets early! :o)

  • Comment number 92.

    We were there for the last two weeks of the tournament. I have to say that it was one of the best experiences of our lives.

    Infrastructure - Johannesburg - Cape Town and Durban airports were excellent, The Roads around Johannesburg and Pretoria superb, this made our trips to Rustenburg and Bloemfontein so easy. It was also such fun seeing all the fans at the toll gates on the way down to Bloemfontein.
    We used the Park and Ride to Cape Town again faultless, less than 10 minutes to the ground.

    Fan Fests :- The Fan Fests in Cape Town and Durban were amazing, K Naan performed for free at the Fan Fest in Durban on the beach bedore the Cape Town Semi Final

    Stadiums:- Cape Town and Durban Stadiums were amazing, Durban is the most beautiful stadium we have ever been to, surely an Olympic venue. Also the ability to walk from these two stadiums to the Waterfront (Cape Town) and Casino-Beach area (Durban) within a few minutes is fantastic.
    How many stadiums apart from Cardiff are part of the community, a huge positive.

    People:- South African people must be amongst the most friendly people that you will ever meet, it is part of their nature, it was not put on like in some countries. Many of them have nothing by comparison to Western Standards but they are still happy.
    For example, your bags are packed at the supermarket, they have Car Parking attendants (Guards) at all Car Parks, they put your bags in the Car. The Petrol Station attendants are wonderful,wherever we went people were so friendly and genuine. When we got to Rustenburg, the B and B had organised a Braai (BBQ) and transport to the ground with a pass to get nearer. This is what we found whereever we went, people put themselves out for you.

    Scenery:- We were lucky to be able to go to the Kruger park where we saw Wild Dogs amongst all the usual wildlife and we also visited the Panorama-Blyde River Canyon - Gods Window etc; astonishing scenery. South Africa has to be the most beautiful country in the World it has everything except Ski Resorts.

    Tabloids :- The Gutter press painted a very negative picture of South Africa, those fans that went were absolutely astonished by what they saw.
    Many parts of South Africa are first world and bare comparison to anywhere else in the World, that picture was never painted.Those fans that went were blown away, one of our friends stayed for two weeks in Standton, he thought that Johaneesburg was one of the best fun cities in the world.The press should apologise to all that did not visit due to their reporting, at least it enabled many more South Africans to go to the matches. I wonder how many Brits are going to be able to go to the Olympics, it will be very interesting, I bet it will have been easier for South AFricans to get to see the World Cup than we will be to see the Olympics.Also they all paid a heavily discounted rate 75% discount for group matches.R140 as opposed to R560

    Soul:- From what we can see South Africa has a soul, those that have nothing help out those that our needier than themselves, very many South AFricans help out in the community. How many countries come close to this SOUL, certinly not the UK.

    Legacy:-We will be astonished if this World Cup does not have a profound impact on Tourism and investment. All those that we met, want to come back with their families, they will tell everyone that it is perfectly safe being a tourist as long as you use Common Sense. You can drive yourselves around the country with ease.

    Atmosphere:- You had to be there to appreciate it, it was fantastic.

    Football:- We were lucky to go to Ghana v USA, England v Germany (Fantastic atmosphere - awful England), Germany v Argentina and Spain v Germany. So the games that we saw were very good, I am sure that those that went to the games, where the football was not great , the atmosphere more than made up for it, not so easy watching TV no doubt at times.

    Vuvuzela :- Well when you were there they added to the atmosphere and feel good factor, the majority of the visiting fans had them and blew them. It wasn't so bad in the Stadiums although the sound at the CT semi was heavy at times.

    ALL in ALL, FANTASTIC SOUTH AFRICANS - FANTASTIC SOUTH AFRICA - YOU SHOULD ALL BE SO PROUD, YOU ID IT, YOU MADE IT FOR US.

    THANK YOU

  • Comment number 93.

    Being as we are in the closing stages of our own world cup bid, i think we should keep very quiet about any doubts that the conclusion of the tournament in SA was achieved via anything but competent, incident-free event management. While muggings and similar crimes might be more common in South Africa, by their nature they are quite easy to crackdown in with investment and preperation, and are not as directly accountable to the tournament or its organisers as,say, hooliganism and crowd violence. The only prevention of that i would have confidence in is a uninhibited victory for England.
    The South Africans were celebrating from start to finish, they appreciated the cultural and social significance of being the host nation. I do not dare to expect the same respectful hospitality from English fans.
    What would be fantastic for a world cup centered on Wembley and the London stadiums, would be if the nations who have a large number of immigrants in the city could qualify. What ranking are Pakistan? Nigeria would be another. and Poland.
    And the final at Selhurst Park.

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.

    I don't think that was a poor world cup at all. the knock out stage was as exciting as i can remember. however, the 3rd place game showed how amazing the game could be when the pressure comes off two teams. it was to see a glimpse of what it could be. obviously, a lot of this complaining comes from the fact that england were rubbish in this world cup and your using this as a medium to get your frustration out. to the person that said the 2002 world cup was terrible, your memory is horrible that was one of the best international tournaments of all time.

  • Comment number 96.

    This is actually a poor article. The author complains about diego forlan being the leading goal scorer and complains that he is not the best player in the world. who said that the best player in the world has to be the leading goal scorer. someone always comes out of nowhere to do well in the world cup, i.e. davor suker. also, he complains that spain never played very well. there, he shows his lack of knowledge about the sport. spain were fantastic all tournament, they completely played into their strength all tournament by playing possession football. who said that they had to play open football in order to play well?

  • Comment number 97.

    I grew up in a lower middle class familly in Africa. Football is an ingrained part of the culture, more religion than religion itself.

    Unlike many critics, I thought it was cool that so many billions of rand were spent on stadiums, infrastructure, etc. Why? Because - like Dezzy Tutu said, how can you put a price tag on hope? On happiness? Did you see massive riots in South Africa's many slums protesting the World Cup anywhere?

    The Renaissance Italians spent (the equivalent of) zillions on fancy schmanzy cathedrals for their religion instead of helping the poor, and that's what history remembers them for.

    And more to the point - if South Africa hadn't hosted the World Cup, what makes you think that the same money would have been spent on poverty eradication anyway?

    That said, I do hope the 2010 World Cup doesn't do to South Africa what the 2004 Olympics did to Greece.

    But what really tarnished South Africa's image at the World Cup were the vuvuzelas. I'd hoped to hear lots of singing and drumming - like Senegal at the 2002 World Cup - but nope, all that human passion was drowned out by a mechanical drone. Decades from now, South Africans will look back at how they spoiled their first world cup with tuneless plastic horns, and cringe.

  • Comment number 98.

    @Robert Fraser, #92

    On behalf of South Africans, thanks for that fine post.

  • Comment number 99.

    I think they should aim for a World Cup in India over the next 12 years. I am originally from India though I have lived in London most of my life.

    The kind of passion they have for Cricket is unimaginable. A nation of over 1 Billion people completely stops to watch that sport.

    Now imagine if FIFA could help channelize even a fraction of that passion towards football. That would truly transform world football and also the Indian sports scene. It would also help develop the infrastructure of a lot of Indian cities like it has done for South Africa. As the world's largest democracy and one of the fastest growing economies, that could truly be a coming out party.

    I know the Indian football team is pathetic but that is not because of lack of talent. Imagine the number of talented kids you could find in over 1 Billion people. Such a tournament could ignite a lot of interest in the game and that would help world football, both club and international.

  • Comment number 100.

    Minor rule changes to improve the world cup & the beautiful game...

    http://hwhiskey7.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/changes-to-the-beautiful-game/

 

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