10. This was a great World Cup
Martin Kelner, writing in the Guardian, called this World Cup right. “It has probably been the worst World Cup in modern times,” he said. There were no great teams and few great players.
Most of the famous stars had a poor tournament. Drogba and Ronaldo each scored once. Kaka, Messi, Ribery, Rooney and Torres didn’t score at all. There were few exciting games which swung to and fro; comparable, say, to the 1970 England-Germany quarter-final or the 1970 Germany-Italy semi-final. In the 16 knockout matches, only three had five goals or more.
9. Spain were a great team
The pundits loved Spain, and apart from Germany and Argentina they were the best of a poor bunch. They were a clean and sporting team with only 8 yellow cards and no red cards (compared with Holland’s 22 yellow cards). Although everyone went into raptures about their passing and the star-studded midfield, they won the World Cup thanks to their defence and to Villa. They only conceded two goals in the entire tournament. On the other hand, they won all four of their knock-out games 1-0 and only scored eight goals in the entire World Cup, fewer than any of the other quarter-finalists apart from Ghana and Paraguay. Who will remember any of Spain’s games by 2014?