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Daily Archives: 07/11/2010

South Africans real stars of World Cup: Zuma


South African President Jacob Zuma, left, and FIFA president Sepp Blatter, right, wait to present the bronze medal to Germany, during the medals ceremony following the World Cup third-place soccer match between Germany and Uruguay at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Saturday, July 10, 2010. (Getty)

July 11, 2010

(KATAKAMI / WEBINDIA123.COM)  On the eve of the final South African President Jacob Zuma praised South Africans as the real “stars and champions” of Africa’s first World Cup.

“When we won the rights to host the World Cup, we knew that working together we would be able to succeed. However, what has happened so far, has exceeded our expectations,” Zuma said in a statement Saturday evening.

“That is because of the role played by our people, the South Africans. They are the stars and champions of this tournament,” he said.

Zuma thanked South Africans “for putting the country first” by continuing to show massive support for the tournament, turning up to games in droves, even after the national team were knocked out in the first round.

“Let us keep celebrating, let the vuvuzelas keep blowing and let the football festival continue at Soccer City and the fan parks until the final whistle,” he urged, while also telling South Africans to give themselves “a pat on the back for a job well done so far.”

World Cup 2010 Final Debate: Will David Villa Or Wesley Sneijder Emerge As The True Star Of The Tournament?


Spain’s David Villa takes part in a training session at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, Saturday, July 10, 2010. (Getty)

July 11, 2010

(KATAKAMI / GOAL.COM)   On Sunday, Spain and Netherlands will meet in modern coliseum that is Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium to decide who will win the 2010 World Cup.

With neither country previously having lifted the world crown, the 22 players involved will take to the pitch knowing that they are one moment of greatness — or, heaven forbid, a moment of madness — away from making history for the homelands.

But for a couple of those 22 players, there is another prize on offer.


Netherlands’ midfielder Wesley Sneijder smiles during an official training session at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg, on July 10, 2010 a day before they meet Spain in the 2010 World Cup football final. (Getty)

The Golden Ball, for the player deemed the best over the course of the competition, is still up for grabs — with Spain’s talismanic striker David Villa and the Oranje’s skilful midfielder Wesley Sneijder hoping to press home their claim for the crown with one more memorable performance. Not only that, but with five goals apiece both players will also be looking to grab the decisive goal that also edges them ahead in the race for the Golden Boot.

But which one will catapult themselves to individual glory as they try and steer their country to success? Goal.COM UK looks at how the two star players stack up against each other…



28 Age
Barcelona Club
Striker Position
Attacking midfielder
2 x Spanish cups Club honours

3 x domestic titles in three countries, 2 x cups, 1 x Champions League
64 Caps
43 Goals
Euro 2008 winner International honours

Tournament stats

6 Appearances
529 Minutes played
5 Goals
1 Assists
68% Pass completion
53.24km Distance covered

Goal.com skill ratings

Work rate
Who will take the crown?

With Spain the narrow favourites to edge to the title, the smart money suggests that Villa will be one who catches the eye in making a break for top goalscorer and player of the tournament. But Sneijder has already proven during the past month in South Africa that he was more than capable of making crucial contributions at pivotal moments — the quarter-final against Brazil being a case in point — and it would be brave to bet against the former Ajax youngster capping an annus mirabilis in some style.

With little to choose between either man, perhaps tactics will eventually play a defining role. With Sneijder likely to struggle for space as he is hounded by Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso, perhaps the likes of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie will take on more decisive roles for Bert van Marwijk’s side.

As a likely lone striker, however, Villa will have to be at the heart of everything good Spain attempt in the final third. Likely to be given the ball in dangerous situations on a number of occasions, the new Barcelona man has more than enough quality to punish the likes of Johnny Heitinga and Joris Mathijsen for any positional errors they make.

Villa has proved his enviable international goalscoring record is no fluke by coming up with the goods whenever his country as needed him to so far in South Africa (barring the all-round abherration in the first game against Switzerland) and expect to do that again on the biggest stage of all as he edges Sneijder for the individual awards.