… the All Whites’ unbeaten record at the FIFA World Cup was not the tournament’s greatest underdog performance. That accolade should go to the hosts, for beating France, who were a perfect illustration of all that’s wrong with football in 2010. High-strung Ferrari-driving show-ponies who failed to perform and behaved like rebellious toddlers when expected to do so; led by dictatorial, egomaniac management who refused to accept the results of their own uselessness with any sort of humility.
South Africa were ranked second-lowest in the tournament, lower even than the All Whites, and they demonstrated that if you hang tough and play as a team you can beat a side which, on paper, is far better than you are (and keep them out of the second round). The footballing world owes South Africa a rich debt of gratitude, not only for organising what was by all accounts a cracking tournament, but for humiliating France.
A fitting end to a tournament for which they shouldn’t have qualified in the first place.