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World Cup 2010 Highlights

…the quintessential flaw with any human invention is that humans are the inventors.


FIFA World Cup 2010 Trophy

The World Cup Trophy as seen before the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final Match.

Now that the tournament is over, it’s time to reflect on it – through a series of timely parodies of the motivational poster theme. The real highlights of this World Cup (like all the others) will live on in infamy through the many controversies that plagued it. In this post, I cover some of the more entertaining spills of the 2010 FIFA World Cup that was recently held in South Africa.

De John fouls Alonso using martial arts

In a very poorly judged challenge for the ball Nigel De Jong of the Netherlands plants his foot into the chest of Xabi Alonso of Spain, in such a way that from all angles, it looks very much like a martial arts kick, during the Final match at the 2010 World Cup. Surprisingly, he was only awarded a yellow card. Poorly timed challenges of this nature are usually awarded a red card.

Uruguay playing Volleyball

In what is perhaps the single most controversial match at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez clearly and deliberately handles the ball on the goal line, preventing a goal that would have seen Ghana winning the match and moving on to the next round. The referee saw the hand ball, gave Suarez a red card, sending him off the field. Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan took the resulting penalty shot into the goal and missed, sending both teams into a penalty shoot out that saw Ghana loosing the game 4-2 to Uruguay. Luis Suarez then became Uruguay’s anti-hero, being booed at every turn in the next match where they faced a Dutch dismissal.

So what’s the controversy? Ghana only lost the game because of the deliberate hand ball. Instead of awarding a Penalty shot, many feel that FIFA should alter the rules of the game at this level, such that in these particular cases where it’s obvious that the goal would have been scored save for a foul (the goalie was nowhere near the ball), the goal should simply have been given. It’s a flaw in the game that expert penalty teams like Uruguay maliciously exploit.

Kader Keita overreacts to clashing with Kaka

After slamming into Brazil’s Kaka, Ivory Coast’s Abdul-Kader-Keita falls to the ground, grabbing his face as though he was shot by a sniper round. The dramatics were credible enough to cause French Referee Stephane Lannoy to hand Kaka a second yellow card, which ultimately saw him being sent off the field. The dramatics were obvious enough to cause a stir, despite the fact that Brazil crushed Ivory Coast 3-1 anyway. This kind of play acting by players to draw a free kick or worse from the Referee is a deliberate (but dishonest) strategy employed to gain advantage during matches. Sadly, because these tricks are difficult to spot, they often work.

Robert Green fails to save a slow ball.

English Goal Keeper Robert Green fails to hold on to a slow ball from the USA’s Clint Dempsey. The ball slowly rolls into the net, despite the frantic desperation of the English goalie to stop it. The English press crucified Green referring to his efforts as the “Hand of Clod”, an obvious play on Maradonna’s hand ball that scored a goal against England during the 1986 World Cup.

Controversial non-goal against Germany

Manuel Neuer of Germany fails to stop a ball from England’s Frank Lampard that bounces off the crossbar over the line into the German goal, back to the crossbar and back out of the goal. Controversially, the goal was not allowed, reigniting the debate over whether or not FIFA needs to embrace Goal Line technology that would have prevented such controversy. Oddly enough, a very similar event happened in the 1966 World Cup final between the same teams, where England triumphed over Germany to take the trophy. Karma, perhaps? Some think so.

Martin Caceres kicks De Zeeuw

Bicycle kicks are difficult to get right – particularly since it involves some precise gymnastics. Most of the time, they completely miss, taking away from the excitement they bring to a game. However, when Martin Caceres of Uruguay tries to best Demy De Zeeuw of the Netherlands by getting to the ball first, his bicycle kick was so poorly timed, that not only did it completely fail, but he also smashed a wicked kick to De Zeeuw’s grill. Caceres then concedes a yellow card.

Miroslave Klose receives a red card.

Football fans were perturbed when the Group D match between Germany and Serbia became something of a card fest. When referees get out of control like Alberto Undiano of Spain (which perhaps was some kind of eerie omen of Germany’s future defeat against Spain), the game devolved into boring super cautious game play. Not only was the sending off of Germany’s Miroslav Klose grossly unwarranted, but the referee racked up a fiendish 9 yellow card tally, which was only surpassed by the 14 yellow card finale between Spain and Netherlands. We’re thankful that this idiotic card happy referee was not selected to officiate any future matches.

Koman Coulibaly disallows a USA goal against Slovenia

When Malian referee Koman Coulibaly disallowed a USA goal against Slovenia, it added yet another nail in the coffin of the potential for the growth of soccer enthusiasm in the United States. It was a perfectly legal goal, but Coulibaly held to his guns. Bad calls by game officials are not unique to football. It’s a common trend in other games as well. Match officials have a remarkable talent for making huge mistakes and just for the sake of ego, sticking to them. It very decisively goes to show that match officiating should never be left entirely up to humans.

Daniele De Rossi dives

In what has to be the most blatant example of cheating at the game, Daniele De Rossi of Italy spontaneously dives, complete with Academy Award winning acting on the football pitch, to falsely incite a foul from the Mexican referee. Diving is a long time tradition in football that usually goes unpunished due to FIFA’s refusal to embrace the technology to aid with match officiating. Diving usually works because the referee is rarely in a position to see the angle of the dive, and thus punish the offenders. Everyone was too happy to see the Italians sent home after a poor group stage performance. They have brought great disgrace to the game.


While FIFA’s 2010 World Cup in South Africa will undoubtedly be remembered for the great upsets that led to its shocking finish, like every World Cup before it, it’s more likely to be remembered for the same preventable crap that happens over and over again on the field. World Cup Soccer is not a perfect game, largely because the quintessential flaw with human invention is that humans are the inventors. Until FIFA decides to bridge that gap, countries like the USA will never take it seriously and nonsense like this is bound to recur at the next World Cup, and the one after that, and the one after the one after that, in perpetuity, ad nauseum.

  1. Big A
    August 9, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    As a big fan of football, I was heartbroken after this world cup final. And yes, part of me wants to blame Europe for taking the fun out of the game lol. More specifically I have to blame this Italian-style-defensive-pile-on-back strategy all the teams used to win. It was a dreadful tournament. It had some high points, but this was an overall ho hum, ho-what-the-f*ck-this-sh*t-is-awful kinda tournament. Nice breakdown though. The people in charge of Fifa are dinosaurs. They feel bringing in new technologies will take away from the game’s traditions. I say bullsh*t! The technology will improve the game, and possibly decrease unsportsmanlike conduct, and other controversies. Spot on post man!

    • August 10, 2010 at 8:20 am

      I agree with you 100%, sir. That’s why I’m heartbroken that Germany didn’t win. It was the only team that in my opinion that deserved that trophy. I can only hope that they utterly crush in Brazil 2014.

  2. Wisla
    July 17, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Kind of you to take the time and edit those pictures.

  1. July 18, 2010 at 2:43 pm

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