All about south africa

08:16, July 14, 2010      

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The celebration ...

Spain's national team players look out from an open-top bus past Arco de la Victoria during a celebration parade in downtown Madrid on Monday. Spain stunned the Netherlands to win its first World Cup on Sunday in sensational fashion with a goal in the last minutes of extra time.

It becomes the second team winning the European Cup and World Cup in succession after Germany. It is the first European team to win the World Cup outside of Europe. The world's top-ranked team is also the first squad which was able to win the championship after losing its opening game in World Cup history. Spain had never even reached a World Cup final before. Until this year, the best it had managed was the quarterfinals.

Spain, ichscored eight goals in seven games, set a World Cup record as the lowest-scoring winner. It scored three less than the previous record low of 11 - shared by Italy in 1938 (four games), England in 1966 (six games) and Brazil in 1994 (seven games). The eight goals came from 121 shots (46 on target), the most among the 32 participants.

It also conceeded the least goals during the tournament. Team captain Iker Casillas allowed only two goals, a performance that won him the best goalkeeper award.

Andres Iniesta, who scored Spain's championship-winning goal, is the player who suffered most fouls, 26 times, while Spain had the most fouls suffered by a team, 134 times. The team also boasted the most passes (3,803) by a squad, the most passes by an individual (Xavi, 669) and the best ball procession, 66.4 percent.

Spain's coach, Vicente del Bosque, is undoubtedly the most successful coach for a national side in history. Since he came into the post in 2008, the coach boasts a stunning 32-2 win-loss record. With the World Cup success, he follows Marcello Lippi in being a European Cup and World Cup-winning coach, the only man to have masterminded two European Cups and a World Cup success.

The World Cup victory has brought a sliver of happiness to a country where about 20 percent of the population is jobless, the highest rate in the 16-nation eurozone.

The goal ...

South Africa's midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala celebrates after scoring the first goal of the Cup in the opening match against Mexico on June 11 at Soccer City stadium.

There were 145 goals in the World Cup, including 9 penalties and 3 own goals, averaging 2.3 goals per match. It marks the World Cup with the least goals in the past 12 years. There were 171, 161 and 147 goals in 1998, 2002 and 2006 respectively. Germany scored the most 16 goals, while Honduras and Algeria failed to score. In terms of club, players of Bayern Munich combined to have 12 goals while those from Inter Milan and Barcelona scored 9 goals.

The ball ...

England's goalkeeper, Robert Green, reacts after missing the ball during its Group C first-round match against the US on June 12 at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg.

Green was not the only goalie to make a stupid mistake during the Cup and the ball, Jabulani, has been considered the culprit. Producer adidas defended the design of the ball but US space agency NASA has entered the fray on this one, saying the 440-gram sphere becomes unpredictable when propelled at more than 44 miles per hour, resulting in unnatural swerves and deviations.

The tears ...

Argentina's coach, Diego Maradona, hugs Lionel Messi after the side lost to Germany 4-0 in the quarterfinals at Green Point stadium in Cape Town on July 3.

Maradona, who failed to become the third man to win the Cup as a player and a coach, hinted he would resign following his side's World Cup elimination. However, the whole nation, including its president, Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner, appeared rather supportive of the "one of the country's most famous sons". Argentina's performance was really not that bad compared to Italy and France as the defending champion and the runner-up four years ago were eliminated in the group stage.

The referees ...

Assistant referees run along the pitch during a FIFA referee training session in Derdepoort, South Africa, on June 21.

The SA World Cup saw a number of, if no the most in history, high-profile wrong decisions in the tournament such as the failure to award England a goal against Germany when Frank Lampard's shot hit the crossbar and went over the goalline and the missed offside on Carlos Tevez's goal for Argentina against Mexico. However, according to a study by FIFA's referees' committee, referees were right 96 percent of the time at the World Cup.

The enthusiasm ...

South African supporter Gregory Da Silva, who called himself The Egg Man, holds a 25-kilogram hat as he walks among World Cup supporters in Cape Town on June 17.

On the field of play, South Africa fared worse than any host nation in World Cup history. Off the field, it was a resounding winner, overcoming past strife and present troubles to charm the world with pluck, hard work and warmth. The pre-tournament skeptics abroad - who forecast crime and chaos - had to swallow their words. At home, black and white South Africans joined together as never before, sharing pride in their formerly fractured country and marveling at the world's embrace.

The fan ...

Larissa Riquelme, a curvy lingerie model who loves her national team Paraguay, cheered the squad on, clad in revealing outfits. The 24-year-old beauty had pledged to run naked through the streets "with my body painted with the colors of Paraguay" if Paraguay won the World Cup.

Her presence at the World Cup even revalued several magazines in which she appeared.

Though her nudity pledge ended in heartbreak when her national team was eliminated at the semifinal stage by Spain, the gorgeous model and her plenty of pictures in revealing outfits were everywhere on the internet.

The octopus ...

Octopus Paul, better known as the so-called "octopus oracle" sits on a soccer ball in his aquarium at the Sea Life Aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen on July 9.

The octopus became a media star after correctly picking all eight World Cup results, seven German World Cup results and the final. To reward his perfect prediction record, Paul's German handlers dropped a shiny golden replica of the coveted Jules Rimet trophy into his tank.

The eight-legged oracle, who now has more than four times as many fans on social networking site Facebook as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seemed particularly pleased with his prize, wrapping several tentacles around it.

In the wake of his phenomenal success, speculation has been rife about what Paul will do next.

One tongue-in-cheek bookmaker gave punters the chance to place a bet on Paul's future career. They offered odds of 8-1 that he would become a bookmaker himself, 20-1 that he would release a record, 100-1 that he would unveil his own brand of calamari.

But Paul is going to retire.

The intuitive invertebrate will "step back from the official oracle business",Tanja Munzig, a spokeswoman for the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, said. "He won't give any more oracle predictions - either in football, nor in politics, lifestyle or economy," she said. "Paul will get back to his former job, namely making children laugh."

Source: China Daily


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