Date: June 11 – July 11
Spain won their first world title, beating the Netherlands one nil at the Soccer City in Johannesburg. This was the third final the Dutch National Team lost, after the 1974 World Cup and 1978 World Cup finals. La Roja, on the other hand, lifted the trophy in their first ever appearance.
The Netherlands did not show their true quality nor justified their 26-match undefeated streak, being very dull and imprecise. Spain imposed their game, but did not shine either. At the end, a solitary goal from Andrés Iniesta in extra time (min. 115) gave Spain the title. Arjen Robben could have scored in regulation, but incredible missed two great chances, both saved by Iker Casillas.
Howard Webb had a terrible performance as the match referee, influencing the flow of the game and causing discomfort among those present. Webb did not eject Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel for two aggressive fouls, neither sanctioned Iniesta for simulation. There were a total of 14 yellow cards and 1 red card displayed.
Germany finished third for the second consecutive time, overcoming Uruguay three goals to two in the third place match. Uruguay was one of the top teams in the competition, almost reaching the final. Their forward, Diego Forlán, won the Adidas Golden Ball (Best player of the tournament).
Italy, 2006 World Cup champions, could not qualify to the knockout stage, finishing last of Group F with just two points. Italy tied with Paraguay and New Zealand, and lost to Slovakia.
There were no changes in the format. Eight groups of four teams, with the two best reaching the knockout stages (Round of 16, quarter-finals, and semifinals).
Uruguay vs. Netherlands: 2 – 3
Goals: Giovanni van Bronckhorst 17′, Diego Forlán 40′, Wesley Sneijder 69′, Arjen Robben 72′, Maximiliano Pereira 90 + 1′
Germany vs. Spain: 0 – 1
Goal: Carles Puyol 72′
Uruguay vs. Germany: 2 – 3
Goals: Thomas Müller 18′, Edinson Cavani 27′, Diego Forlán 50′, Marcell Jansen 55′, Sami Khedira 81′
Netherlands vs. Spain: 0 – 1
Goal: Andrés Iniesta 115′
|1. David Villa||Spain||7||5|
|2. Diego Forlán||Uruguay||7||5|
|3. Thomas Müller||Germany||6||5|
|4. Wesley Sneijder||Netherlands||7||5|
[Images property of Ficha Deportiva: Panini S.p.A. – Modena Album]