Sam Parker’s World Cup Review – The Good

Posted: July 30, 2010 in Football
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Team of the Tournament – Germany
It would be easy to opt for the winners, but Germany surprised many people this summer. Not expected to have much impact on the tournament by most (myself not included) they scored four goals on three occasions, two of which were against pre-tournament favourites England and Argentina.
A far cry from the ‘efficient’ German teams of old, this World Cup saw the Germans mix up as much flair as anyone else and carry such an attacking threat. It was almost a disappointment to see them prevented from earning gold for their troubles.

Runner-Up – New Zealand
It seems odd to include a team that failed to emerge from the group stage, but New Zealand finished the tournament as the only side not to lose a game. Whilst failure to win one would be the argument put forward by most, their pre-tournament status as protracted whipping-boys sees that unbeaten record seem mighty impressive, as they held the reigning champions Italy to a draw as well.

Player of the Tournament – Wesley Sneijder
Sneijder took the tournament by storm, scoring an impressive five goals from midfield. Whilst one of them must be deemed a little dubious due to it appearing as a Filipe Melo own goal, he still provided an exceptional series of displays to lift his side into the World Cup final.

Runner-Up – Diego Forlan
We’ve been told over and over by lazy pundits that he’s a far shout from the wretch that used to turn out for Manchester United. Frankly, for those of us that pay attention to the Spanish leagues, this form came as no surprise.
Given how unfancied Uruguay were to do anything this summer, his performances were excellent, scoring a number of huge goals to ensure Uruguay finished fourth.

Goal of the Tournament – Giovanni Van Bronckhorst v Uruguay
 Whatever possessed him to shoot from there, especially with the temperamental Jabulani ball, we’ll never know. All we could do was admire it as it rocketed into the top corner of the net and send Holland on their way to a semi-final victory.

Runner-Up – Fabio Quagliarella v Slovakia
Shame this goal ended up as little more than a footnote in a disastrous campaign for Italy. But for a team trailing by two goals at the time, this was an impudent chip from the edge of the box, allowing Italy to gain a positive mention in this column.

Save of the Tournament – Iker Casillas v Holland
Arjen Robben is put clear of the Spain defence in a game of few chances with the opportunity to break the deadlock and give Holland the fantastic opportunity to lift the World Cup for the first time.
However, despite being sent the other way, Iker Casillas flings out a leg to divert the ball past the post and gives Andres Iniesta a platform to clinch an extra-time winner.

Runner-Up – Noel Valladeres v Chile
That this guy is still a semi-professional in his native Honduras seems baffling, as Valladeres has proved this summer to be a rather good goalkeeper. His save from Chile’s Waldo Ponce was out of the top drawer though, flinging himself across the face of goal to somehow prevent Ponce tapping into an empty net.
Had this been a more high-profile team, this save could’ve been talked about alongside Gordon Banks’ stop from Pele in 1970. Alas, it’ll never make those prestigious replays and will be forgotten by most by the turn of the year.
*Note – Luis Suarez was not considered for this award, as he was penalised for his ‘save’.

Game of the Tournament – Germany v Uruguay
A fantastic end-to-end game which swung one way and then the other, giving us five goals to savour. The only disappointment was that Miroslav Klose was unable to have a chance at writing his team into World Cup history and that Diego Forlan’s free-kick hit the bar, denying us a further 30 minutes of exhilarating action.

Runner-Up – England v Germany
We English might have our gripes and disappointment, but for the neutral this would’ve been rather exciting. A superb display of football was displayed by the Germans, soaking up England attacks and unleashing an array of attacks from all angles.
It could have been more, and coupled with a good bit of refereeing controversy, it was surely one of the most enjoyable matches of the tournament.

Pundit of the Tournament – Clarence Seedorf
A little award for the media, without whom we would miss out on this spectacular tournament. Seedorf proved full of insightful opinions, offering more in-depth analysis than his grinning English counterparts. Time and time again our foreign counterparts appear at these tournaments and show up the English, who persist with such bland platitudes and clichés.

Runner-Up – Roy Hodgson
It was only a brief appearance, but Hodgson added more to the BBC’s punditry team than anyone else he was teamed with. Quoting educational studies in regards to zonal marking was something we’ve never been treated to before.
It was nice to have someone who understands the game show up and offer some insight and he put Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer to shame.

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Comments
  1. Sam Parker?s World Cup Review ? The Good…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. Tom Brown says:

    I also liked Mottys stints in the studio, the man that knows EVERYTHING

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