Monday, July 12, 2010

It doesn't seem like a month ago that it all started, but that's it all over for another four years and everyone's lives can get back to a bit or normality.

I'm sure the cold turkey aspect will kick in at some stage this week, but at least sleeping and work patterns can get back to a bit of normality and my wife and dog will get to see me again.

It's not been a classic World Cup, and when people look back at the 2010 version, there's not going to be a lot of classic highlights that instantly spring to mind. No one team shone above all others, no one player will be looked back upon in the same way as say Mario Kempes, Diego Maradona or Zinedine Zidane have been in the past. There was far too much caution being shown in games and not too many breathtaking games that you wouldn't mind sticking on to watch again in the cold and dark winter months.

A lot of the most memorable moments will be remembered for the wrong reasons: Robert Green's wonderful blunder, Frank Lampard's non goal, the Luis Suarez red card handball on the line. We didn't even get to see either Diego Maradona or Paraguay supermodel Larissa Riquelme running naked through their hometown streets.

Even the final itself was a bit of a letdown, but it always had the potential to be that way if the Dutch didn't get an early goal. It was Spain's passing and possession game against the Netherlands rough house tactics. What happened to Holland's attacking flair from earlier in the tournament I don't know. It can't all have been down to the Spanish putting their gas at a peep. The most skillful team on the day deservedly won and thus ends Spain's nearly men status and for the Dutch the World Cup trophy sees them not so much as Netherlands but Neverneverlands.

England's Howard Webb had a mare in the middle and should have sent off more than the one player he did. The players certainly didn't help him but for a man who always gives that air of wanting to be the real centre of attention in a match, it played right into his hands.

So now that it's all over, who and what stood out for us at AFTN as the "Best of" the 2010 finals:

PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT:

Holland's Wesley Sneijder was their big helping hand in them getting to the final. Outstanding throughout, a final goal would have capped a tremendous tournament. He also bagged me a shitload of points in my Sky Sports Fantasy Team. Uruguay's Diego Forlan was a close second for me.


TOURNAMENT BEST XI:

I'm going for a 4-3-3 formation with...

GK - Iker Cassilas (Spain); D - Sergio Ramos (Spain), Carles Puyol (Spain), Lucio (Brazil), Phillip Lahm (Germany); MF - Wesley Sneijder (Holland), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany); F - David Villa (Spain), Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Thomas Muller (Germany)


MATCH OF THE TOURNAMENT:

Not a lot of standouts it has to be said, but for the sheer drama of the last 20 minutes or so, I'm going with the 3-2 Group F game between Slovakia and Italy. It had me on the edge of my seat and not a lot else did this time around, apart from the close of the Uruguay-Ghana game.


GOAL OF THE TOURNAMENT:

David Villa's goal to put Spain one nil up against Honduras in the Group H game on June 21st. Archie Gemillesque!


MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT:

Luis Suarez's handball on the line in the final seconds of Uruguay's game against Ghana. As sickening as it was for the Africans to miss the penalty and thus go out, I still hold the feeling that Suarez is a hero to his countrymen and women.


HERO OF THE TOURNAMENT:

Has to go to another Uruguayan, step forward linesman Mauricio Espinosa, who shall always be a hero in Scotland for his actions in England's defeat to Germany. We salute you sir!


REFEREE OF THE TOURNAMENT:

The guy we've been banging on about from the start, Uzebkistan's Ravshan Irmatov, who we still feel should have got the final. Will be interesting to see how his career possibilities open up after his performances in South Africa.


So that's my thoughts. Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts and selections in the comments section.

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