The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicked off at Soccer City on the outskirts of Johannesburg on the 11th of June 2010. The opening ceremony was world class and spectacular. The whole world watched as the first FIFA World Cup on African soil started. Bafana Bafana faced Mexico in the opening match of the tournament and the whole country were behind them. Bafana Bafana (who are ranked 83rd in the world) managed to draw a match against Mexico (who are ranked 17th in the world). Bafana Bafana almost won the match. A shot at goal by South African striker Mphela hit the woodwork in the last 2 minutes of the match. The opening match was attended by more than 83,000 people at Soccer City.
Since the 11th of June we have been treated to some of the best football ever seen on African soil. Teams from 32 countries gave their best in their group stage matches for a chance to make it into the round of 16 stage of the tournament. Although South Africa drew their first match against Mexico but they failed to beat 2 times FIFA World Cup champions Uruguay (who won the 1930 and 1950 tournaments). They did restore some pride when they beat France (the 9th best team in the world) by 2 goals to 1 in their last group match in Bloemfontein. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough. Bafana Bafana did not qualify for the 2nd round of the tournament.
Argentina has so far been the best performing team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. They ended on the top of the log in their group and have not lost a match in the tournament. Argentina has scored 10 goals since their campaign started on the 12th of June (against Nigeria). They played in their second round match against Mexico last night and beat them convincingly by 3 goals to 1. They became the 4th team to advance to quarter final stage of the tournament. Germany, Uruguay, Ghana were the 3 other teams advancing. Germany beat England by 4 goals to 1 in their 2nd round match yesterday, Uruguay beat South Korea by 2 goals to 1 and Ghana beat the USA by 2 goals to 1 on Saturday. Germany is 2nd best performing team behind Argentina. They’ve lost one group match (against Serbia) but have managed to score 9 goals in the tournament so far.
Today the Netherlands face Slovakia and Brazil take on Chile in their respective 2nd round matches. Tomorrow Japan will face Paraguay and Spain will take on Portugal in the last two 2nd round matches. The 30th of June and 1st of July 2010 will be maintained as rest days in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. 2 Quarter final matches will be played on the 2nd of July and 2 will be played on the 4th of July. The semi final matches in this year’s tournament will be played on the 6th and 7th of July, the 3rd / 4th play-off will take place on the 10th of July and the final match will be played on the 11th July (completing a month of football madness in South Africa).
So far the following has happened in the 2010 FIFA World Cup:
- Portugal have achieved the biggest winning margin in a match in the tournament so far. They beat North Korea by 7 goals to 0 at Cape Town Stadium in their group G match.
- South Africa and Greece both won their first games in a FIFA World Cup tournament.
- Ghana became the 2nd team from Africa to qualify for the quarter final stage in a FIFA World Cup.
- South Africa became the first world cup host nation in history to be knocked out in the first round of a FIFA World Cup tournament.
- Italy were knocked out in the first round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The first time since 1974 in tournament history.