Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

My five best World Cup 2010 moments

It's a decade on from the kick off of the 2010 Fifa World Cup finals in South Africa, a day when Siphiwe Tshabalala's superb strike lit up Soccer City and has Bafana Bafana dreaming, for just a moment of World Cup glory. Phakaaathi editor Jonty Mark picks his five most most memorable moments from the tournament, which start with that Tshabalala thunderbolt and end with Spain's first ever World Cup win a month or so later.

Tshabalala’s rocket for the ages

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 11: Siphiwe Tshabalala of South Africa celebrates scoring the first goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

It was June 11, 2010, and a tense Soccer City needed a hero to step up to the plate. South Africa were playing Mexico in their opening match of the World Cup finals, the first time a finals had been held on African soil. It had been a tense opening 55 minutes, with Mexico a little unlucky not to go into the break in front, but then Siphiwe Tshabalala grabbed his moment. Latching onto a brilliant pass from Kagiso Dikgacoi, the Kaizer Chiefs midfielder took one touch, and smashed a brilliant shot into the top corner with his left foot. The noise inside Soccer City at that moment ranks as one of the loudest I have heard in 20 years covering football across the globe. Unfortunately some sloppy defending allowed Mexico to equalise and Bafana’s chances of reaching the last 16 were dealt a hammer blow in a 3-0 loss to Uruguay in their next match. But for a moment, a nation dared to dream.

A French meltdown

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 22: Patrice Evra (R) and Thierry Henry of France look on from the substitutes bench during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between France and South Africa at the Free State Stadium on June 22, 2010 in Mangaung/Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The modern day French side seem to have either an excellent World Cup or an awful one, with not much in-between. And their efforts in 2010 were among their worst of all time. The 2006 finalists arrived as one of the favourites for the competition, and opened with a respectable if seriously dull goalless draw with Uruguay. But it all started to go wrong at half time in the loss to Mexico in their second Group A match. In the Frencj dressing room striker Nicolas Anelka reportedly said to head coach Raymond Domenech “Go fuck yourself, you son of a whore,” and was sent home by the French Football Federation. At an open training session in Knysna, French defender Patrick Evra then had a blazing row with fitness trainer Raymond Duverne, after which the French players walked off the pitch and refused to continue training, coming out in support of Anelka in a statement. France lost their last Group A game 2-1 to South Africa and went home in total disgrace.

BaGhana BaGhana

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JULY 02: Asamoah Gyan of Ghana shoots a late penalty high during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Quarter Final match between Uruguay and Ghana at the Soccer City stadium on July 2, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

As much as South Africa hosted the World Cup, and did so impressively, the real African success story of the tournament, on the field, was Ghana. The Black Stars were the width of a crossbar away from becoming the first African side ever to reach the semifinals, in an incredible quarterfinal match against Uruguay at Soccer City. After Bafana’s exit, many South Africans picked Ghana as their team to follow at the competition, and most of the stadium was on their side, as they took on a top class Uruguay team. Sulley Muntari’s long range effort gave Ghana the lead on the stroke of half time, but Diego Forlan’s excellent free kick levelled the scores after the break. The real drama came, however, right at the end of extra time. Luis Suarez was sent off for a blatant handball on the goalline, meaning Asamoah Gyan had the chance to effectively send Ghana into the last four from the penalty spot. Gyan, however, hit the bar, and it was Uruguay who held their nerve in the shootout. Ghana, however, did a continent proud, while the less said about that awful BaGhana nickname, the better!

Germany thrash England in Bloemfontein

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 27: Manuel Neuer of Germany watches the ball bounce over the line from a shot that hit the crossbar from Frank Lampard of England, but referee Jorge Larrionda judges the ball did not cross the line during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Germany and England at Free State Stadium on June 27, 2010 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

This was the game that apparently persuaded Fifa once-and-for-all to introduce goalline technology, as Frank Lampard’s chipped first half effort in the World Cup’s last 16 hit the bat and came down for what was clearly a goal, but to the amazement of everyone inside the Free State Stadium, was ruled not to have crossed the line by Uruguayan assistant referee Mauricio Espinosa. To focus too much on this, however, would be to take away from a superb performance by Germany, who raced into a two goal lead, slicing through England at will and scoring through Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski. Matthew Upson pulled a goal back for England and Lampard’s effort would have made it 2-2, but Germany cut England apart again after the break and two goals from Thomas Muller gave them a 4-1 win. Germany went on to make the semifinals, while England finished yet another World Cup campaign with a squad of talented players flattering to deceive.

Spanish dominance sealed with Iniesta’s moment of magic

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JULY 11: Andres Iniesta of Spain celebrates scoring his side’s first goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final match between Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Spain were the number one side in the world heading into the tournament, but were stunned in their opening match, losing to Switzerland, albeit to a goal very much against the run of play. From there, however, it was a Spanish masterclass of possession football, no more so than in the semifnal, when Germany’s attacking power was all-but nullified by the fact they couldn’t get the ball off Vicente Del Bosque’s side. Spain might have actually lost the final against the Netherlands at Soccer City, if Arjen Robben hadn’t wasted a gilt edged opportunity when clean through on goal just after the hour mark, his effort too close to Iker Casillas, who nevertheless pulled off a fine save. With four minutes left in extra time, Andres Iniesta, arguably the greatest midfielder of his generation, made no such mistake, latching onto a superb pass from Cesc Fabregas, and sending an unstoppable shot past Maarten Stekelenburg. Spain finally had their World Cup crown.

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