BBC BLOGS - Jonathan Stevenson

Archives for July 2010

Andres Iniesta, the unassuming superstar

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Jonathan Stevenson | 10:10 UK time, Monday, 12 July 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg.

The reluctant superstar has overnight become the one of the most famous sporting faces on the planet.

As Andres Iniesta controlled Cesc Fabregas's pass in the 116th minute of the World Cup final, Spain's destiny lay in the hands of its pocket-sized midfield playmaker. One sweet sweep of his right foot and Iniesta, for so long the quiet prince of Spanish football, was suddenly its king.

No more just the sublimely talented creator who lives in the shadows of supposedly more illustrious team-mates, now it is the boy from Fuentealbilla near Albacete in the east of Spain who reigns supreme.

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Who's the star performer at the 2010 World Cup?

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Jonathan Stevenson | 18:08 UK time, Friday, 9 July 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

Fifa has announced which 10 players are in the running to win the prestigious Golden Ball and emulate the achievement of such greats as Diego Maradona, Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane. So who are they and do they deserve to be on the shortlist?

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Defining moment for Spain's golden generation

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Jonathan Stevenson | 13:40 UK time, Friday, 9 July 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

"The day Spain begin winning, they won't stop."

How true Zinedine Zidane's words are beginning to sound. Two years after the Spanish ended 44 years of hurt by captivating a continent to win Euro 2008, the real 'Golden Generation' stands on the brink of World Cup immortality as they prepare to face the Netherlands in Sunday's final in Johannesburg.

Zidane, who represented Spanish giants Real Madrid with such distinction between 2001 and 2006, was not merely speculating when he made his bold statement a few years back. The French master was trying to explain that Spain, despite possessing a superbly talented crop of players, were perhaps being held back by a lack of confidence caused by years of failure.

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World Cup heroics hypnotise Uruguayans

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Jonathan Stevenson | 15:54 UK time, Monday, 5 July 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

On 1 March, during the course of a holiday, I happened to find myself in the middle of joyous Uruguayan festivities. People were pouring on to the streets of the capital Montevideo to celebrate the night away, singing patriotic songs and dancing until the early hours of the morning.

Little did I know that, thanks to the World Cup, only four months later Uruguay would be at it again.

I had arrived in the second smallest country in South America at a time of national rejoicing. It was the day that Uruguay's new president Jose Mujica was inaugurated.

Talking to the locals, they were overwhelmingly optimistic about the future, surfing a wave of patriotic fervour that was only just beginning to die down towards the end of my five-day stay.

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Romero & Neuer highlight Hart folly

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Jonathan Stevenson | 13:13 UK time, Thursday, 1 July 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

Buried deep among the ruins of England's World Cup catastrophe remains a dilemma that refused to go away throughout their dismal showing in South Africa: the goalkeeping conundrum.

In the aftermath of the mauling at the hands of Germany, far bigger issues concerning the future of English football have been pored over, with the frenzied search for answers showing no signs of abating.

What if, what if, what if?

But ponder this: What if Fabio Capello had named Joe Hart as his number one goalkeeper before the tournament started? What if Hart, the country's in-form custodian, had been between the sticks during the game against the United States, when Robert Green gifted away a goal and England's campaign never truly recovered?

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