Ryan Parrish looks back at a memorable tournament in South Africa as Spain beat the Netherlands in extra-time to secure their first World Cup trophy thanks to Andres Iniesta's strike.
Monday 12 March 2018 11:37, UK
Despite suffering defeat in their opening game, Spain claimed their first World Cup trophy at South Africa 2010.
Vicente Del Bosque's men were the favourites entering the tournament and, although the early Group H defeat by Switzerland cast doubts over their powers, they soon showed the world why they had become such a force.
The hosts captured the World Cup spirit perfectly in Johannesburg with a stunning opening ceremony followed by a pulsating 1-1 draw with Mexico in which Siphiwe Tshabalala netted one of the tournament's finest goals.
2006's beaten finalists, France, then got their campaign off to an underwhelming start with a 0-0 draw against Uruguay to bring day one to a close
South Africa failed to build on the promise shown in their first game as Uruguay cruised to a 3-0 win in Pretoria, while France's struggles continued with another disappointing showing in the 2-0 defeat to Mexico.
In the final round of group fixtures, Luis Suarez secured a 1-0 win for Uruguay over Mexico which ensured both sides progressed and France capped off a miserable showing with a 2-1 defeat to South Africa.
Group B proved to be a formality for Argentina as they saw off South Korea, Nigeria and Greece to win all three of their games.
South Korea got their tournament off to a strong start as they eased past Greece with a 2-0 win, while Argentina just edged out Nigeria 1-0 as Diego Maradona's men adjusted to the climate.
A Gonzalo Higuain hat-trick helped Argentina brush aside South Korea in a resounding 4-1 win and Greece picked up their only three points of the tournament, beating Greece 2-1.
Second place remained up for grabs as the teams entered the final set of group games, but Argentina's 2-0 win over Greece ensured that a dramatic 2-2 draw against Nigeria was enough for South Korea to progress.
England faced USA, Algeria and Slovenia in Group C but made hard work of qualifying for the knock-out stages as Robert Green's blunder cancelled out Steven Gerrard's opener to gift USA a 1-1 draw in their first game.
Slovenia beat Algeria 1-0 thanks to Robert Koren's strike in their opening fixture and they then fought out a thrilling 2-2 draw with the USA as they emerged as dark horses to progress.
England again failed to impress in a forgettable 0-0 draw with Algeria, meaning that a win in their final group game was vital in order to avoid crashing out.
Jermain Defoe was the hero as his goal was enough to see off Slovenia, but Fabio Capello's men had to settle for second place after Landon Donovan netted a stoppage-time winner over Algeria to clinch a 1-0 win for USA which meant that they won the group on goals scored.
As expected, Germany dominated Group D, although a 1-0 defeat to Serbia provided a brief hiccup after powering to a 4-0 demolition of Australia in their first game.
Australia recovered by holding Ghana to a 1-1 draw before beating Serbia 2-1, but Ghana claimed second place on goal difference and Serbia finished bottom.
Despite being faced with a potentially tricky draw in Group E, the Netherlands joined Argentina in becoming the only other team to enjoy a 100 per cent record in the group stages.
Victories over Denmark, Japan and Cameroon sealed their progression and Japan joined them in the last 32.
Similarly to France in Group A, holders Italy also endured a dismal tournament as they finished bottom of Group F after failing to collect a win.
Draws with Paraguay and New Zealand in their opening games meant that they needed to beat Slovakia in order to progress, but Marcello Lippi's men were rocked by a 3-2 defeat which paved the way for Paraguay and Slovakia to progress.
Also notable in Group F was the form of New Zealand who were the tournament's only unbeaten team after drawing their three outings.
However, Group G saw few surprises as Brazil and Portugal took the two top spots, with Dunga's men winning the group.
Brazil laboured to a 2-1 win over a defiant North Korea side in their opening fixture before stepping up the pace to beat Ivory Coast 3-1 before being held to a 0-0 draw by Portugal.
Portugal could not find a way past Ivory Coast in their first game, drawing 0-0, before hitting North Korea for seven which meant that a point against Brazil would send them through.
Group H saw one of the shocks of the tournament as Gelson Fernandes put eventual champions Spain to the sword, claiming a famous 1-0 win for Switzerland.
But that was to be the only set-back on the way to glory for Del Bosque's side as they won their other two group games - against Honduras and Chile - before progressing alongside the latter on six points.
The first games in the knock-out stages saw 2-1 wins for Uruguay and Ghana, against South Korea and USA respectively, before the Netherlands scraped past Slovakia while Brazil brushed aside Chile with a 3-0 win.
A Carlos Tevez double and one from Higuain secured Argentina a 3-1 win over Mexico, before England were thumped 4-1 by Germany, although they were denied a clear goal to make it 2-2 after Frank Lampard's effort bounced over the line via the crossbar.
In the remaining last-16 fixtures, Paraguay beat Japan 5-3 on penalties and a 1-0 win edged Spain past Portugal to set up some tasty quarter-final ties.
In one of the tournament's most dramatic moments, Uruguay needed penalties to see off Ghana in controversial circumstances.
Luis Suarez was dismissed in stoppage time for keeping out a goal with his hand to present Ghana with the chance to win the game, only for Asamoah Gyan to miss the resulting spot-kick and Uruguay to take advantage, winning 4-2 on penalties.
The Netherlands then clinched their semi-final place by beating Brazil 2-1, while Germany continued to impress with a resounding 4-0 win over Argentina and a late David Villa strike edged Spain past Paraguay.
The first of the two semi-finals was a five goal-thriller as Giovanni van Bronckhorst fired in one of the finest goals of the competition on the way to the Netherlands' 3-2 win over Uruguay.
The second semi-final proved to be a much more reserved affair between Germany and Spain, with Carles Puyol netting the only goal of the game to set up a final meeting with Bert van Marwijk's side.
Soccer City in Johannesburg was the venue for the final as 84,490 fans saw the two sides contest a typically cagey game which needed extra-time to be decided.
It was a badly-tempered contest as 13 yellow cards were dished out by referee Howard Webb and John Heitinga was dismissed after 109 minutes for his second booking.
The game was six minutes away from needing a penalty shoot-out but Spain deservedly grabbed the winner as Andres Iniesta raced through on goal to fire beyond Maarten Stekelenburg.