The 2010 World Cup will certainly be remembered as a World Cup of firsts. Spain became champions for the first time with the latest winning goal in a final, they became the first country to win the World Cup after losing their opening match and they were the first European nation to win the global showpiece outside of Europe.
It was also the first time that the final did not feature at least one of the forerunners: Brazil, Italy, Germany or Argentina.
The final is believed to be the most ill-disciplined game in recent history, more than doubling the previous record set in 1986. The English referee, Howard Webb, brandished 14 yellow cards and one red card, presented to John Heitinga of Holland who had received his second caution.
During the tournament a total of 145 goals were scored, with Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s thunderbolt against Uruguay in the semi-final widely regarded as the best of the lot. A first for Bafana Bafana was Siphiwe Tshabalala’s terrific left-footed strike in the opening game against Mexico which is ranked as the second best.
A first for South Africa is an estimated 3.18 million spectators who paid to watch the 64 match tournament, which is the third highest aggregate attendance after the United States in 1994 and Germany in 2006.
Paul the Octopus lives at the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany. Paul was given two flags in his tank with food behind them; the choice he made would supposedly be the winner in the upcoming game. Another first is that Paul correctly predicted the winners of each of the seven 2010 FIFA World Cup matches that the German team played, against Australia, Serbia, Ghana, England, Argentina, Spain and Uruguay. His prediction that Argentina would lose prompted Argentine chef, Nicolas Bedorrou, to post an octopus recipe on Facebook. Paul’s keeper, Oliver Walenciak, responded by saying, “There are always people who want to eat our octopus but he is not shy and we are here to protect him as well. He will survive.”