The 2010 World Cup marked the first time the final rounds of this enormous football (soccer to Americans) event would be hosted in an African nation. South Africa won the bid over Egypt and Morocco, bringing much needed attention and tourism to a nation with a rich and sometimes troubled history. The unique topography and culture of South Africa lent some very strange twists to the competition.
In ten striking venues across the country, thirty-two teams competed for the cup. Some of the stadiums were so high above sea level that players were affected by the altitude, as was the firmness of the ball. While FIFA medical experts downplayed these effects, players complained about not being in control of their bodies.
To make matters more interesting, a special Adidas ball called the Jabulari was introduced for the 2010 World Cup. Players would also complain about the behavior of this ball, mostly that it would not fly straight over long passes. Interestingly, Adidas-sponsored players only had good things to say about the new ball.
Another small controversy developed around the finals when broadcasters realized that fans at home could not hear the commentary on the games because of the incessant blowing of vuvuzela horns. The vuvuzela is a South African football tradition, a horn used by fans to show their excitement at the games (much like canned air horns are used in the States). Something about these World Cup Finals had the vuvuzelas blowing at full blast this year, giving the players yet another strange complaint about the effect of environment on their game. Stadium officials tried to control the noise of the horns, but to no avail. BBC is considering rebroadcasting games after re-mastering the sound in an attempt to remove some of the horn noise.
So many strange events and situations came up at the 2010 World Cup, but we mustn’t forget the lastchapter in the series! Spain won the final game one to zero over the Netherlands, taking home $30 million for the team, bragging rights for a year, and a lifetime of stories and memories from this unique World Cup event.
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