Many big names failed to live up to high expectations in South Africa. Players from great nations such as Brazil, England and Spain all had lacklustre performances, with many players seeming to lack passion and drive for their respective countries. Here is my team of disappointments from the 2010 World Cup:
The Italian ‘keeper was brought in after number one goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon injured himself in the first group game, and the Cagliari stopper never looked sure at the back of a defence that was far from solid. The 2006 champions crashed out in the group stages in South Africa after draws against Paraguay and New Zealand, with a loss against Slovakia determining their fate. Marchetti was beaten too easily in that match, although the poor defence in front of him didn’t help.
Thanks, but no thanks. Carragher took the gracious step of coming out of international retirement, only to have an absolute shocker against Algeria. He was off the pace in that game and against USA when he came on for an injured Ledley King. He received a booking in each of these games and so received a one-match ban for the third game against Slovenia. Carragher has now retired, once again, from England. The Liverpool centre-back will be gladly missed.
If Johnson is the best right-back that England have, then we’re in serious trouble. The Liverpool defender possessed the first touch of a baby elephant during the World Cup, and he was caught out on various occasions. A defender that cost the Scouse side £17 million was a major weakness for an already feeble England side.
Not just for his lack of determination on the pitch but for his disgraceful behaviour off it. The French left-back, along with other senior players, didn’t like manager Raymond Domenech’s style of managing and so decided to take it into their own hands, costing France a decent World Cup run in the meanwhile. The Manchester United star, who captained his side in South Africa, lacked any real passion whilst playing, concentrating more on showing his frustrations to the manager.
The man who lifted the 2006 trophy saw his side crash out in the group stages as an aged Italy side failed to impress at all. Cannavaro has joined UAE Football League side Al-Ahli Dubai and says that he wishes to end his career in Dubai. The former-Real Madrid, Juventus and Inter Milan centre-back was a shadow of the man from 2006 in Germany. This is probably the last World Cup that Cannavaro will play in; what a disappointment to go out on. The only highlight of his tournament was handing over the trophy at the end of the 2010 World Cup.
One of the greatest midfielders to ever grace this earth has had a poor season and an even worse World Cup. Kaka joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 for a fee of over £50 million but the former AC Milan star looked sheepish throughout the tournament, not managing to score in the four games he played in.
The French midfielder had a torrid season at Bayern Munich, both on and off the pitch, and Ribery’s season didn’t improve in South Africa. In a French side that was led astray by revolutions and poor management, Ribery was pretty much invisible in poor displays by the French.
The Manchester City midfielder didn’t get much of a chance in this World Cup but, when he did come on, he was nothing short of awful. His poor touch as well a refusal to actually run past people was not what England needed. Fabio Capello’s decision to take him to South Africa in the first place was controversial, with Aaron Lennon already on the plane. The Tottenham winger is the same sort of player as Wright-Phillips, although Lennon is the better model.
The Portuguese star may have scored one goal, in the 7-0 drubbing of North Korea, but he never lived up to expectations and struggled in a side that boasts very little quality. Portugal’s tactics of kicking teams off the pitch worked against teams such as Ivory Coast and Brazil, but Spain were too good for them in the last 16. Ronaldo couldn’t seem to get his shooting right with the new Jabulani ball, and the former-Manchester United striker capped off a trophy-less season with Real Madrid with a poor national team showing.
On a par with the best in the world? On the basis of this World Cup, definitely not. The Manchester United striker put in some lacklustre performances for England and failed to score in either of their four games. Rooney may have been burnt out, or under a lot of pressure, but he still under-performed drastically and lacked energy in a disappointing campaign for England.
After a below-average season at Liverpool it would have been wrong for the world to assume that Torres was going to set South Africa alight. The Spanish striker didn’t manage to score in a campaign that saw Spain go all the way to the final. Torres looked off the pace and seemed to lack confidence in his own ability, losing the ball in good positions for Spain. Two world-class strikers; two massive disappointments.
Manager: Raymond Domenech
The now-former-France manager created havoc for his team by not keeping his players on his side, causing the team to revolt. The World Cup could not have gone worse for Domenech and his side, who crashed out in the group stages, finishing bottom of the group with only a point, three points behind South Africa.