STATS: The FIFA 2010 World Cup in SA


Exactly 10 years ago today, South Africa hosted the first Soccer World Cup on African soil.

Siphiwe Tshabalala scored the tournament’s opening goal against Mexico, as we sent a message to the world that we were not just there to make up the numbers.

The gulf in quality showed in the next game, however, when Bafana lost 3-0 to eventual semi-finalists Uruguay. Even the 2-1 win over France wasn’t enough, as Bafana were knocked out of the tournament at the first stage.

Spain would lose their opening game but go on to beat Netherlands in an all-European final in dramatic fashion – Andres Iniesta scoring the latest goal ever recorded in a World Cup final (116 minutes). As usual, we dug through the numbers to bring you ten stats from the showpiece event 10 years ago:

1 – South Africa were knocked out of the 2010 World Cup at the Group stage, and are the only hosts in World Cup history not to progress from the 1st round.

1 – Spain lifted their first ever World Cup title in 2010, becoming the 8th country to put their name on the trophy, but the first European team to have won outside Europe.

2.27 – The 2010 tournament saw just 2,27 goals per game (145 in 64), the second lowest figure of all time at a World Cup (2,21 gpg in 1990).

3 – The Honduras national team had three brothers in their World Cup squad (Johnny, Jerry and Wilson Palacios), the first time this has happened for any team. Only Wilson & Jerry played.

4 – There were four top scorers at the World Cup (David Villa, Diego Forlan, Wesley Sneijder & Thoman Muller), the most since 1962 (6). Muller won the Golden Boot (because he had three assists).

6 – Carlos Alberto Parreira coached Bafana Bafana at the 2010 World Cup, his sixth different side he has coached at the tournament, the most of any manager. Kuwait (1982), UAE (1990), Brazil (1994 & 2006), Saudi Arabia (1998) and Bafana Bafana (2010).

6 – Netherlands won 6 games in the tournament (excl 3rd place playoff) – the highest number for a non-title winning World Cup side. Spain also scored just 8 goals (the lowest ever for a champion).

9 – Netherlands received nine yellow cards in the final, the joint-highest number for a single team in a World Cup match (Portugal also received nine in 2006 vs Netherlands).

71 – Otto Rehagel holds the record of being the oldest ever World Cup coach, aged 71 when he led Greece in 2010. Vicente Del Bosque (2010WC) is the oldest coach to become a champion (59 years).

74 – The biggest world ranking gap between a winning & losing side in the group stage was between South Africa (83rd) & France (9th), making this the biggest upset (by rankings) in group stage history.

Bonus Jabulani stats from OptaJoe

The 2010 World Cup also saw the introduction of the Jabulani football, which provided a whole narrative of its own. Below are 5 stats related to shots taken from OptaJoe.

983 – There were 983 shots from outside the box at that tournament, the two World Cup editions since have seen a massive reduction (805 at 2014 and 695 at 2018).

29 – Lionel Messi recorded 29 shots at the 2010 World Cup but did not score a goal, the most of any player at a single World Cup without scoring since Opta World Cup data is available (1966).

45+ – The two longest range goals since the start of the 1966 World Cup came at the 2010 edition; Keisuke Honda’s direct free-kick against Denmark (45 yards) and David Villa versus Chile (46 yards).

44 – The woodwork was struck 44 times at the 2010 World Cup, the highest figure since 1982 (45).

60% – Only 60% of penalties in normal time were converted in the 2010 World Cup (9/15). No tournament had seen more missed penalties until then (now 7 in 2018).

RELATED STORY: Andile Dlamini on the memories of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

By Opta Jabu 

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