From Hand of God II to Jabulani...

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Last Updated : 10 July 2010, 17:13 IST
Last Updated : 10 July 2010, 17:13 IST

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The 2010 World Cup A-Z.

* A: Africa. The continent's first World Cup was embraced off the pitch but on it, where only Ghana of the six teams taking part got beyond the group stage, it was a massive disappointment.

* B: Bavaria. How many people had heard of the little Dutch brewery before it was handed surely the greatest piece of free publicity ever afforded a company? FIFA's heavy-handed arrest of a group of models wearing orange dresses -- from a crowd of 20,000 orange-clad fans -- was the most spectacular own goal of the tournament.

* C: Convoy. Not since the Great Trek of the 1830s have so many Dutchmen been on the move in South Africa. The remarkable convoy of orange vehicles that set off from Amsterdam in April brought vivid colour to the country. Even more remarkable is the fact that the whole lot of them went home on a pre-booked ship during the week and the occupants will watch the final in the Netherlands.

* D: Dunga. A quite incredible display of touchline petulance from Brazil's coach from start to finish. Just when his team were rocking against Netherlands and needed a calm hand on the tiller, Dunga preferred to rant and rave like the most demented fan.

* E: Europe. Stories of the continent's demise proved premature as the three European quarterfinalists all became semifinalists and, for the second successive meet, two of them will contest the final.

* F: Faking it. Chile's Arturo Vidal and Kader Keita of Ivory Coast were guilty of appalling pretence to induce red cards for opponents for imaginary blows to the face. Even though the whole world could see, via TV replays, that the offences did not happen, the actors got away scot-free while the real ‘victims’ still had to serve suspensions.

* G: Giraffe. One of the rare nods to the location as the desi-gners incorporated giraffe-sh-apes into the supports for Nelspruit's Mbombela stadium.

* H: Hand of God II. The same photo of Luis Suarez's last-gasp handball to deny Ghana a place in the quarterfinals was captioned ‘cheat’ throughout Africa and ‘hero’ in Uruguay.

* I: In-fighting. France, England, Cameroon, South Africa and no doubt many others suffered from internal tensions, with coaches criticised and petulant players objecting. This is usually the favoured approach of the Netherlands but this time, bar the odd Robin van Persie dummy-spit, they have been a harmonious unit -- and look where it got them.

* J: Jabulani. The ball with a mind of its own. FIFA's insistence of developing a new ball for every tournament backfired, with Adidas' latest offering delivering the properties of a child's beach ball.

* K: Kingson. Richard, third choice at Wigan Athletic but arguably the best goalkeeper of the tournament as he kept Ghana on course with a series of saves with his legs and feet.

* L: Linesmen. Despite the high-profile blunders that cost England and Mexico dear, the standard of linesmanship was generally superb, with their split-second decisions on the ever-more complex offside rule invariably proved correct by myriad TV replays.

(To be concluded)

Published 10 July 2010, 17:13 IST

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