Read on for my TOP 10 from the World Cup. Let me know some your top moments and tell me what you think of mine.
Best goal of the tournament
Diego Forlan’s strike in Uruguay’s 3-2 loss in the bronze medal loss to Germany. He took a waste-high pass at full speed, coming from his right side at a 90 degree angle, and made a like a ballet dancer to re-direct the ball into the net. Like a true artist, he made the most difficult play look so easy.
Best save of the tournament
Spain’s Iker Casillas’ dramatic save on the Netherlands’ Arjen Robben in the second half of the final. Diving to his left, but kicking his feet to the right, he made the kind of save every child dreams of making. And in this case, the World Championships WAS on the line!
Best first 20 minutes of a match
The Germany-England match was shaping up to be a match for the ages. The experience of the English was just catching on to the youth of the Germans when they appeared to score a tying second goal. Such a shame the referees missed it, as the fragile English team could not recover from a denied goal.
Best Upset of the tournament
I was in Durban to watch Spain play Switzerland in their opening match. Beforehand, most pundits predicted an easy victory for the Spanish side. Instead, the Swiss defense confused the Spanish, and their offence took advantage of a broken play to score one of the most exciting goals of the opening round. And to think Spain was able to re-group and do what they did.
Best Surge of emotion
Oddly, I was not in the stadium for this one. I was with my CBC crew recording on a Cape Town street when South Africa scored the first goal of the tournament in their match against Mexico in Johannesburg. The noise of celebration rolled down the street like a tidal wave, emanating from bars, restaurants, homes, and cars. That’s electricity!
Best Guilty Pleasure of the tournament
Watching Portugal win 7-nil over North Korea. As a rule, I hate lopsided victories in sport. However, the beauty of the goals scored by Ronaldo and company were truly spectacular to watch – a reminder of what exceptional athletes are on the field.
Best non-hi-lite match of the tournament
Many people were critical of the Brazil-Portugal nil-nil draw in their last match of the opening round. I was not. The level of play, ball-control, positional play, and tactical positioning expectional. As I say, not the stuff of hi-lite reels, but for those of us watching in person, a display of superior coaching and technical skills.
Best Soccer photo
I was walking on the beach in Durban, when I happened on these kids having a kick around. I saw kids playing soccer just about everywhere I went in South Africa. Remember that the kids were out of school for the five weeks of the tournament.
Best non-soccer photo
I took this photo before the WC started, when we were shooting a story on the Masiphumelele township, outside of Cape Town. I found this girls expression remarkable – a knowing, proud stare looking out to the world.
Best Quote of the tournament
Has nothing to do with soccer, really. But it’s one of many pearls of wisdom that would come from my cameraman Richard Agecoutay after we’d drink a few post-match beer.
He said: “Don’t let mortality be frightening. Let it be enlightening.”
So, while the 2010 World Cup has come to an end, it has done much to enlighten me and attitude!