They think its all over… it is now (well at least until 2014)

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

After a full month of head-to-head match-ups, heartbreaking losses, exciting victories and unbelievable flops, the 19th FIFA World Cup has come to its dramatic finish, with Spain reigning victorious for the first time in history. The final match itself, which saw Spain defeat the Dutch national team 1-0 after extra time, was a historical event because the entire football-watching world knew that regardless of who took home the World Cup trophy this year, it would be a team that had never done it before.

The 2010 World Cup saw many other interesting firsts, the most significant of which started before the players ever stepped foot on the field. In 2004, FIFA announced its selection of South Africa as the host nation over Morocco and Egypt, making South Africa the first African nation to host the tournament. South Africa’s World Cup also was to become the most-watched television event in history—FIFA estimates that about 700 million people witnessed the final match on July 11, 2010.

As exciting a time this Cup was for the entire population of South Africa, “Bafana Bafana” (the national team that goes by the Zulu moniker that means “the boys”) failed to make it past the group stage—making them the first host nation to do so. Since 1938, host nations have automatically qualified for the final tournament and many champions have won the World Cup title on home soil, including Uruguay, who hosted the first tournament in 1930.

Other upsets in this year’s series came from 2006 defending champions Italy and runners-up France. These teams, which have each won four and one World Cup championships respectively, failed to advance past the group stage—yet another first for this international tournament. Not only did these two international superstar teams not see play in the knockout stage, they each also finished last in their respective groups.

More notable record-making statistics from this year’s World Cup include:

●    It was the first time a European nation won the championship outside its home continent

●    It was also the first time two different European nations took the title in back-to-back tournaments (Italy in 2006, Spain in 2010)

●    The 2010 tournament is tied with the 2008 Summer Olympics for hosting the greatest number of nations in a sporting event (204 entrants)

●    Just six teams from the Union of European Football Assocations (UEFA) made it to the round of 16, a record low since 1998, when FIFA expanded the World Cup to host 32 teams in the tournament

●    The national teams from Ghana and Paraguay made it to the quarter-finals for the first time

The 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil for the first time since 1950, making them the fifth country to host the tournament twice. This World Cup will also be the first one held in South America since 1978, when it took place in Argentina.

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