World Cup fans around the world will have to wait another four years for the next matches; this weekend saw Germany best Uruguay for third place, and Spain won their first ever World Cup by defeating Netherlands 1-0 in overtime. The final match, played July 11 with Nelson Mandela in attendance, was one of the sloppier and more violent matches played in many respects, with a record number of yellow cards given out to both teams, in particular to Holland. However, the celebrations were marred by knowledge that three blasts killed a large number of spectators in Uganda, according to CNN.
Having missed the first 20 minutes of the match, I decided to interrupt my usual run by stopping into a local Peruvian chicken restaurant to follow the game. Having been told via text that the game was a good one, though scoreless, I sat down with local fans and was treated to yellow card after yellow card- 13 yellows and a red for the Dutch, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The Dutch were fairly upset by “card-happy” English ref Howard Webb.
“I don’t think the referee controlled the match well at all,” Holland coach Bert van Marwijk was quoted as complaining in the Wall Street Journal. But, those of us watching the game saw a number of nasty tackles, the kind that should have definitely sent Oranje’s Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong packing. That the first red to be issued came in overtime was surprising, to say the least.
That isn’t to say that Spain was faultless. Spain’s defender Carles Puyol, who would later be injured, had a nasty tackle of his own, and there were fouls aplenty for both sides. That the Dutch would resort to that level of poor sportsmanship, with the sole exception of Arjen Robben, who alone seemed interested in at least trying to score, however, really brought the overall level of the game down. I and others went from Dutch supporters to Spanish boosters fairly quickly after that performance.
By contrast, the German-Uruguayan match was almost a gentlemanly affair, with both teams scoring well and the young Germans demonstrating why their team may be well positioned to advance in Brazil 2014. Thomas Muller had five goals throughout the tournament, according to the Sun, while Uruguay’s Diego Forlán admitted that his team was pleased with fourth place. The Golden Boot and Best Young Player went to Thomas Müller, the Golden Ball to Forlán, and the Golden Glove went to Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas, as noted by Wikipedia.
All of these events have been tempered by the tragic news that at least 74 World Cup viewers in Kampala, Uganda, were murdered in multiple explosions. CNN reports that Somali militants calling themselves Al-Shabaab are taking credit for explosions that ripped through a rugby club and an Ethiopian restaurant. Seventy-six other people were injured in the terrorist attack.
Michael Cockerill, “Finale far from pretty as Dutch decide to attack game with physical approach” Sydney Morning Herald
CNN Wire Staff, “Somali militants appear to claim responsibility for Uganda bombings” CNN
Gabriele Marcotti, “Too Much Yellow, Not Enough Red” Wall Street Journal
Matt Parker “Uruguay 2 Germany 3” The Sun
Wikipedia, “2010 FIFA World Cup Final”