2010 FIFA World Cup

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2010 FIFA World Cup
  • isiZulu: iNdebe Yomhlaba Ye-FIFA ka-2010
  • Afrikaans: FIFA Sokker-Wêreldbekertoernooi in 2010
  • isiXhosa: 2010 FIFuRoni da Futboll
  • Northern Sotho: Mogopo wa Lefase wa FIFA wa 2010
  • Mohope wa lefatse wa FIFA 2010
2010 FIFA World Cup.svg
Ke Nako. (Tswana and Sotho for "It's time") Celebrate Africa's Humanity
It's time. Celebrate Africa's Humanity (English)
Dis tyd. Vier Afrika se mensdom (Afrikaans)
Isikhathi. Gubha Ubuntu Base-Afrika (Zulu)
Lixesha. Ukubhiyozela Ubuntu baseAfrika (Xhosa)
Inguva. Kupemberera hupenyu hweAfrica (Shona)
Ke nako. Keteka Batho ba Afrika (Southern Sotho)
Tournament details
Host countrySouth Africa
Dates11 June – 11 July
Teams32 (from 6 confederations)
Venue(s)10 (in 9 host cities)
Final positions
ChampionsFlag of Spain.svg  Spain (1st title)
Runners-upFlag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Third placeFlag of Germany.svg  Germany
Fourth placeFlag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay
Tournament statistics
Matches played64
Goals scored145 (2.27 per match)
Attendance3,178,856 (49,670 per match)
Top scorer(s) Flag of Uruguay.svg Diego Forlán
Flag of Germany.svg Thomas Müller
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Wesley Sneijder
Flag of Spain.svg David Villa
(5 goals each) [1]
Best player(s) Flag of Uruguay.svg Diego Forlán [2]
Best young player Flag of Germany.svg Thomas Müller [3]
Best goalkeeper Flag of Spain.svg Iker Casillas [4]
Fair play awardFlag of Spain.svg  Spain [5]

The 2010 FIFA World Cup, also branded as South Africa 2010, was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010. The bidding process for hosting the tournament finals was open only to African nations. In 2004, the international football federation, FIFA, selected South Africa over Egypt and Morocco to become the first African nation to host the finals. [6]


The matches were played in 10 stadiums in nine host cities around the country, [7] with the opening and final played at the Soccer City stadium in South Africa's largest city, Johannesburg. [8] [9] Thirty-two teams were selected for participation [10] via a worldwide qualification tournament that began in August 2007. In the first round of the tournament finals, the teams competed in round-robin groups of four teams for points, with the top two teams in each group proceeding. These 16 teams advanced to the knockout stage, where three rounds of play decided which teams would participate in the final.

In the final, Spain, the European champions, defeated third-time losing finalists the Netherlands 1–0 after extra time to win their first world title. Spain became the eighth nation to win the tournament and the first European nation to win a World Cup hosted outside its home continent: all previous World Cups held outside Europe had been won by South American nations. They are also the only national team since 1978 to win a World Cup after losing a game in the group stage. As a result of their win, Spain represented the World in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. Host nation South Africa and both 2006 World Cup finalists Italy and France were all eliminated in the group stage. It was the second time that the hosts had been eliminated in the group stage since 1982. New Zealand, with their three draws, were the only undefeated team in the tournament, but they were also eliminated in the group stage.

Host selection

Africa was chosen as the host for the 2010 World Cup as part of a short-lived rotation policy, abandoned in 2007, [11] to rotate the event among football confederations. Five African nations placed bids to host the 2010 World Cup: Egypt, Morocco, South Africa and a joint bid from Libya and Tunisia.

Following the decision of the FIFA Executive Committee not to allow co-hosted tournaments, Tunisia withdrew from the bidding process. The committee also decided not to consider Libya's solo bid as it no longer met all the stipulations laid down in the official List of Requirements.

The winning bid was announced by FIFA president Sepp Blatter at a media conference on 15 May 2004 in Zürich; in the first round of voting, South Africa received 14 votes, Morocco received 10 votes and Egypt no votes. South Africa, which had narrowly failed to win the right to host the 2006 event, was thus awarded the right to host the tournament. [12] Campaigning for South Africa to be granted host status, Nelson Mandela had previously spoken of the importance of football in his life, stating that while incarcerated in Robben Island prison playing football "made us feel alive and triumphant despite the situation we found ourselves in". [13] With South Africa winning their bid, an emotional Mandela raised the FIFA World Cup Trophy. [14]

During 2006 and 2007, rumours circulated in various news sources that the 2010 World Cup could be moved to another country. [15] [16] Franz Beckenbauer, Horst R. Schmidt, and, reportedly, some FIFA executives expressed concern over the planning, organisation, and pace of South Africa's preparations. [15] [17] FIFA officials repeatedly expressed their confidence in South Africa as host, stating that a contingency plan existed only to cover natural catastrophes, as had been in place at previous FIFA World Cups. [18]

Bribery and corruption

On 28 May 2015, media covering the 2015 FIFA corruption case reported that high-ranking officials from the South African bid committee had secured the right to host the World Cup by paying US$10 million in bribes to then-FIFA Vice President Jack Warner and to other FIFA Executive Committee members. [19]

On 4 June 2015, FIFA executive Chuck Blazer, having co-operated with the FBI and the Swiss authorities, confirmed that he and the other members of FIFA's executive committee were bribed in order to promote the South African 1998 and 2010 World Cup bids. Blazer stated, "I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup." [20] [21]

On 6 June 2015, The Daily Telegraph reported that Morocco had actually won the vote, but South Africa was awarded the tournament instead. [22]


The qualification draw for the 2010 World Cup was held in Durban on 25 November 2007. As the host nation, South Africa qualified automatically for the tournament. As happened in the previous tournament, the defending champions were not given an automatic berth, and Italy had to participate in qualification. With a pool of entrants comprising 204 of the 208 FIFA national teams at the time, the 2010 World Cup shares with the 2008 Summer Olympics the record for most competing nations in a sporting event.

Some controversies arose during the qualifications. In the second leg of the play-off between France and the Republic of Ireland, French captain Thierry Henry, unseen by the referee, handled the ball in the lead up to a late goal, which enabled France to qualify ahead of Ireland, sparking widespread comment and debate. FIFA rejected a request from the Football Association of Ireland to replay the match, [23] and Ireland later withdrew a request to be included as an unprecedented 33rd World Cup entrant. [24] [25] As a result, FIFA announced a review into the use of technology or extra officials at the highest level, but decided against the widely expected fast-tracking of goal-line referee's assistants for the South African tournament. [26]

Supporters watching the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, with vuvuzelas. Watching South Africa & Mexico match at World Cup 2010-06-11 in Soweto 7.jpg
Supporters watching the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, with vuvuzelas.

Costa Rica complained over Uruguay's winning goal in the CONMEBOL–CONCACAF playoff, [27] while Egypt and Algeria's November 2009 matches were surrounded by reports of crowd trouble. On the subject of fair play, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said:

I appeal to all the players and coaches to observe this fair play. In 2010 we want to prove that football is more than just kicking a ball but has social and cultural value ... So we ask the players 'please observe fair play' so they will be an example to the rest of the world. [28]

Slovakia was making its first appearance as an independent nation but had previously been represented as part of the Czechoslovakia team that had last played in the 1990 tournament; North Korea qualified for the first time since 1966; Honduras and New Zealand were both making their first appearances since 1982; Algeria were at the finals for the first time since the 1986 competition; and Greece qualified for the first time since 1994. Serbia also made its first appearance as an independent nation, having previously been present as Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1930, as SFR Yugoslavia from 1950 to 1990, as FR Yugoslavia in 1998 and as Serbia and Montenegro in 2006.

Teams that failed to qualify for this tournament included Saudi Arabia, which had qualified for the previous four tournaments; Tunisia and Croatia, both of whom had qualified for the previous three finals; Costa Rica, Ecuador, Poland and Sweden, who had qualified for the previous two editions; 2006 quarter-finalists Ukraine and Euro 2008 semi-finalists Russia and Turkey. The highest ranked team not to qualify was Croatia (ranked 10th), while the lowest ranked team that did qualify was North Korea (ranked 105th).

As of 2022, this was the last time South Africa, North Korea, Paraguay, Slovakia and Slovenia qualified for a FIFA World Cup finals, and the last time Costa Rica, Iran, Belgium, and Croatia failed to qualify.

List of qualified teams

The following 32 teams, shown with final pre-tournament rankings, [29] qualified for the final tournament.


Five new stadiums were built for the tournament, and five of the existing venues were upgraded. Construction costs were expected to be R8.4 billion (just over US$1 billion or €950 million). [30]

South Africa also improved its public transport infrastructure within the host cities, including Johannesburg's Gautrain and other metro systems, and major road networks were improved. [31] In March 2009, Danny Jordaan, the president of the 2010 World Cup organising committee, reported that all stadiums for the tournament were on schedule to be completed within six months. [32]

The country implemented special measures to ensure the safety and security of spectators in accordance with standard FIFA requirements, [33] including a temporary restriction of flight operation in the airspace surrounding the stadiums. [34]

At a ceremony to mark 100 days before the event, FIFA president Sepp Blatter praised the readiness of the country for the event. [35]

Construction strike

On 8 July 2009, 70,000 construction workers [36] who were working on the new stadiums walked off their jobs. [37] The majority of the workers receive R2500 per month (about £192, €224 or US$313), but the unions alleged that some workers were grossly underpaid. A spokesperson for the National Union of Mineworkers said to the SABC that the "no work no pay" strike would go on until FIFA assessed penalties on the organisers. Other unions threatened to strike into 2011. [38] [39] The strike was swiftly resolved and workers were back at work within a week of it starting. There were no further strikes and all stadiums and construction projects were completed in time for the kick off. [40]

Prize money

The total prize money on offer for the tournament was confirmed by FIFA as US$420 million (including payments of US$40 million to domestic clubs), a 60 percent increase on the 2006 tournament. [41] Before the tournament, each of the 32 entrants received US$1 million for preparation costs. Once at the tournament, the prize money was distributed as follows: [41]

In a first for the World Cup, FIFA made payments to the domestic clubs of the players representing their national teams at the tournament. This saw a total of US$40 million paid to domestic clubs. This was the result of an agreement reached in 2008 between FIFA and European clubs to disband the G-14 group and drop their claims for compensation dating back to 2005 over the financial cost of injuries sustained to their players while on international duty, such as that from Belgian club Charleroi S.C. for injury to Morocco's Abdelmajid Oulmers in a friendly game in 2004, and from English club Newcastle United for an injury to England's Michael Owen in the 2006 World Cup. [43] [44] [45]


Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap  
Download coordinates as: KML

In 2005, the organisers released a provisional list of 13 venues to be used for the World Cup: Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg (two venues), Kimberley, Klerksdorp, Nelspruit, Orkney, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, and Rustenburg. This was narrowed down to the ten venues [46] that were officially announced by FIFA on 17 March 2006.

The altitude of several venues affected the motion of the ball [47] and player performance, [48] [49] although FIFA's medical chief downplayed this consideration. [50] Six of the ten venues were over 1,200 m (3,900 ft) above sea level, with the two Johannesburg venues – the FNB Stadium (also known as Soccer City) and Ellis Park Stadium – the highest at approximately 1,750 m (5,740 ft). [51] [52]

The FNB Stadium, the Cape Town Stadium and the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth were the most-used venues, each hosting eight matches. Ellis Park Stadium and the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban hosted seven matches each, while the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein and the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg hosted six matches each. The Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane and the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit hosted four matches each, but did not host any knockout-stage matches.

Johannesburg Cape Town Durban
FNB Stadium [53]
(Soccer City)
Ellis Park Stadium Cape Town Stadium
(Green Point Stadium)
Moses Mabhida Stadium
(Durban Stadium)
26°14′5.27″S27°58′56.47″E / 26.2347972°S 27.9823528°E / -26.2347972; 27.9823528 (Soccer City) 26°11′51.07″S28°3′38.76″E / 26.1975194°S 28.0607667°E / -26.1975194; 28.0607667 (Ellis Park Stadium) 33°54′12.46″S18°24′40.15″E / 33.9034611°S 18.4111528°E / -33.9034611; 18.4111528 (Cape Town Stadium) 29°49′46″S31°01′49″E / 29.82944°S 31.03028°E / -29.82944; 31.03028 (Moses Mabhida Stadium)
Capacity: 84,490Capacity: 55,686Capacity: 64,100Capacity: 62,760
Soccer City Stadium Exterior.jpg Ellis Park Stadium.jpg Cape town stadium aerial view 1.jpg Moses Mabhida Stadion durban aerial view 1.jpg
Loftus Versfeld Stadium
25°45′12″S28°13′22″E / 25.75333°S 28.22278°E / -25.75333; 28.22278 (Loftus Versfeld Stadium)
Capacity: 42,858
Loftus Versfeld Stadium.jpg
Port Elizabeth Stadiums in Johannesburg
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
33°56′16″S25°35′56″E / 33.93778°S 25.59889°E / -33.93778; 25.59889 (Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium)
Capacity: 42,486
Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth (cropped).jpg
Rustenburg Polokwane Nelspruit Bloemfontein
25°34′43″S27°09′39″E / 25.5786°S 27.1607°E / -25.5786; 27.1607 (Royal Bafokeng Stadium) 23°55′29″S29°28′08″E / 23.924689°S 29.468765°E / -23.924689; 29.468765 (Peter Mokaba Stadium) 25°27′42″S30°55′47″E / 25.46172°S 30.929689°E / -25.46172; 30.929689 (Mbombela Stadium) 29°07′02.25″S26°12′31.85″E / 29.1172917°S 26.2088472°E / -29.1172917; 26.2088472 (Free State Stadium)
Royal Bafokeng Stadium Peter Mokaba Stadium Mbombela Stadium Free State Stadium
Capacity: 42,000Capacity: 41,733Capacity: 40,929Capacity: 40,911
Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Phokeng.jpg Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, Limpopo, South Africa (8714600990).jpg Mbombela Stadium Aerial View.jpg Free State Stadium1.jpg

The following stadiums were all upgraded to meet FIFA specifications:

Team base camps

The base camps were used by the 32 national squads to stay and train before and during the World Cup tournament. In February 2010, FIFA announced the base camps for each participating team. [58] Fifteen teams were in Gauteng Province, while six teams were based in KwaZulu-Natal, four in the Western Cape, three in North West Province and one each in Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape. [59]

Final draw

The FIFA Organising Committee approved the procedure for the final draw on 2 December 2009. The seeding was based on the October 2009 FIFA World Ranking and seven squads joined hosts South Africa as seeded teams for the final draw. No two teams from the same confederation were to be drawn in the same group, except allowing a maximum of two European teams in a group. [60]

Pot 1 (Host & Top seven)Pot 2 (AFC, CONCACAF & OFC)Pot 3 (CAF & CONMEBOL)Pot 4 (UEFA)

Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina
Flag of England.svg  England

Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan
Flag of North Korea.svg  North Korea
Flag of South Korea (1997-2011).svg  South Korea
Flag of Honduras (1949-2022).svg  Honduras
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand

Flag of Algeria.svg  Algeria
Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon
Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana
Flag of Cote d'Ivoire.svg  Ivory Coast
Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria
Flag of Chile.svg  Chile
Flag of Paraguay (1990-2013).svg  Paraguay
Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay

Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark
Flag of France (lighter variant).svg  France
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia
Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia
Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg  Switzerland

The group draw was staged in Cape Town, South Africa, on 4 December 2009 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. [61] The ceremony was presented by South African actress Charlize Theron, assisted by FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke. [62] The balls were drawn by English football star David Beckham and African sporting figures Haile Gebrselassie, John Smit, Makhaya Ntini, Matthew Booth and Simphiwe Dludlu. [63]

Opening ceremony


FIFA's Referees' Committee selected 29 referees through its Refereeing Assistance Programme to officiate at the World Cup: four from the AFC, three from the CAF, six from CONMEBOL, four from CONCACAF, two from the OFC and ten from UEFA. [64] English referee Howard Webb was chosen to referee the final, making him the first person to referee both the UEFA Champions League final and the World Cup final in the same year. [65]


The Brazilian and North Korean teams before their group stage match FIFA World Cup 2010 Brazil North Korea 3.jpg
The Brazilian and North Korean teams before their group stage match

As with the 2006 tournament, each team's squad for the 2010 World Cup consisted of 23 players. Each participating national association had to confirm their final 23-player squad by 1 June 2010. Teams were permitted to make late replacements in the event of serious injury, at any time up to 24 hours before their first game. [66]

Of the 736 players participating in the tournament, over half played their club football in five European domestic leagues; those in England (117 players), Germany (84), Italy (80), Spain (59) and France (46). [67] The English, German and Italian squads were made up of entirely home based players, while only Nigeria had no players from clubs in their own league. In all, players from 52 national leagues entered the tournament. FC Barcelona of Spain was the club contributing the most players to the tournament, with 13 players of their side travelling, 7 with the Spanish team, while another 7 clubs contributed 10 players or more.

In another first for South Africa 2010, one squad included three siblings. Jerry, Johnny and Wilson Palacios made history thanks to their inclusion in Honduras's 23-man list. [68] Unusually, the game between Germany and Ghana had two brothers playing for opposite nations, with Jérôme Boateng and Kevin-Prince Boateng playing respectively.

Match summary

The 32 national teams involved in the tournament together played a total of 64 matches starting from the group stage matches and progressing to the knockout stage matches, with teams eliminated through the various progressive stages. Rest days were allocated during the various stages to allow players recovery during the tournament. Preliminary events were also held in celebration of the World Cup event. [69] All times listed in the table below are in South African Standard Time (UTC+02).

Group stage

The tournament match schedule was announced in November 2007. [73] [74] In the first round, or group stage, the 32 teams were divided into eight groups of four, with each team playing the other three teams in their group once. Teams were awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw and none for a defeat. The top two teams in each group advanced to the round of 16.

The South American teams performed strongly, with all five advancing to the round of 16 (four as group winners), and four further advancing to the quarter-finals. However, only Uruguay advanced to the semi-finals.

Of the six African teams, only Ghana advanced to the round of 16. South Africa became the first host nation in World Cup history to be eliminated in the first round, despite beating France and drawing with Mexico, while Ghana and Ivory Coast were the only other African teams to win a match. The overall performance of the African teams, in the first World Cup to be hosted on the continent, was judged as disappointing by observers such as Cameroon great Roger Milla. [75]

Only six out of the thirteen UEFA teams advanced to the round of 16, a record low since the introduction of this stage in 1986. Nonetheless, the final was contested by two European teams. [68] In another World Cup first, the two finalists from the preceding tournament, Italy and France, were eliminated at the group stage, with Italy becoming the third defending champions to be eliminated in the first round after Brazil in 1966 and France in 2002. [76] New Zealand, one of the lowest-ranked teams, surprised many by drawing all three of their group matches, ending the tournament as the only undefeated team.

Group A

1Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay 321040+47Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 311132+14
3Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa (H)31113524
4Flag of France (lighter variant).svg  France 30121431
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Tie-breaking criteria
(H) Host
South Africa  Flag of South Africa.svg1–1Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
Tshabalala Soccerball shade.svg55' Report Márquez Soccerball shade.svg79'
Soccer City, Johannesburg
Attendance: 84,490
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan) [78]
Uruguay  Flag of Uruguay.svg0–0Flag of France (lighter variant).svg  France
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Attendance: 64,100
Referee: Yuichi Nishimura (Japan) [78]

South Africa  Flag of South Africa.svg0–3Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay
France  Flag of France (lighter variant).svg0–2Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico

Mexico  Flag of Mexico.svg0–1Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay
Report Suárez Soccerball shade.svg43'
France  Flag of France (lighter variant).svg1–2Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa
Malouda Soccerball shade.svg70' Report
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Attendance: 39,415
Referee: Óscar Ruiz (Colombia) [78]

Group B

1Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 330071+69Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of South Korea (1997-2011).svg  South Korea 31115614
3Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 31022533
4Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria 30123521
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Tie-breaking criteria
Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg1–0Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria

Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg4–1Flag of South Korea (1997-2011).svg  South Korea
Soccer City, Johannesburg
Attendance: 82,174
Referee: Frank De Bleeckere (Belgium) [80]
Greece  Flag of Greece.svg2–1Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Attendance: 31,593
Referee: Óscar Ruiz (Colombia) [80]

Nigeria  Flag of Nigeria.svg2–2Flag of South Korea (1997-2011).svg  South Korea
Greece  Flag of Greece.svg0–2Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina

Group C

1Flag of the United States.svg  United States 312043+15Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of England.svg  England 312021+15
3Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia 31113304
4Flag of Algeria.svg  Algeria 30120221
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Tie-breaking criteria
England  Flag of England.svg1–1Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
Attendance: 38,646
Referee: Carlos Simon (Brazil) [79]
Algeria  Flag of Algeria.svg0–1Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia

Slovenia  Flag of Slovenia.svg2–2Flag of the United States.svg  United States
Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
Attendance: 45,573
Referee: Koman Coulibaly (Mali) [80]
England  Flag of England.svg0–0Flag of Algeria.svg  Algeria

Slovenia  Flag of Slovenia.svg0–1Flag of England.svg  England
United States  Flag of the United States.svg1–0Flag of Algeria.svg  Algeria

Group D

1Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 320151+46Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana 31112204
3Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 31113634
4Flag of Serbia (2004-2010).svg  Serbia 31022313
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Tie-breaking criteria
Serbia  Flag of Serbia (2004-2010).svg0–1Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana
Germany  Flag of Germany.svg4–0Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 62,660
Referee: Marco Rodríguez (Mexico) [79]

Germany  Flag of Germany.svg0–1Flag of Serbia (2004-2010).svg  Serbia
Ghana  Flag of Ghana.svg1–1Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia

Ghana  Flag of Ghana.svg0–1Flag of Germany.svg  Germany
Soccer City, Johannesburg
Attendance: 83,391
Referee: Carlos Simon (Brazil)
Australia  Flag of Australia (converted).svg2–1Flag of Serbia (2004-2010).svg  Serbia
Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Attendance: 37,836
Referee: Jorge Larrionda (Uruguay)

Group E

1Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 330051+49Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 320142+26
3Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 31023633
4Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon 30032530
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Tie-breaking criteria
Netherlands  Flag of the Netherlands.svg2–0Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark
Soccer City, Johannesburg
Attendance: 83,465
Referee: Stéphane Lannoy (France) [79]
Japan  Flag of Japan.svg1–0Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon

Netherlands  Flag of the Netherlands.svg1–0Flag of Japan.svg  Japan
Cameroon  Flag of Cameroon.svg1–2Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark

Denmark  Flag of Denmark.svg1–3Flag of Japan.svg  Japan
Cameroon  Flag of Cameroon.svg1–2Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Attendance: 63,093
Referee: Pablo Pozo (Chile)

Group F

1Flag of Paraguay (1990-2013).svg  Paraguay 312031+25Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia 31114514
3Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 30302203
4Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 30214512
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Tie-breaking criteria
Italy  Flag of Italy.svg1–1Flag of Paraguay (1990-2013).svg  Paraguay
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Attendance: 62,869
Referee: Benito Archundia (Mexico) [78]
New Zealand  Flag of New Zealand.svg1–1Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia

Slovakia  Flag of Slovakia.svg0–2Flag of Paraguay (1990-2013).svg  Paraguay
Italy  Flag of Italy.svg1–1Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Attendance: 38,229
Referee: Carlos Batres (Guatemala) [78]

Slovakia  Flag of Slovakia.svg3–2Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
Attendance: 53,412
Referee: Howard Webb (England) [78]
Paraguay  Flag of Paraguay (1990-2013).svg0–0Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Attendance: 34,850
Referee: Yuichi Nishimura (Japan) [78]

Group G

1Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 321052+37Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 312070+75
3Flag of Cote d'Ivoire.svg  Ivory Coast 311143+14
4Flag of North Korea.svg  North Korea 3003112110
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Tie-breaking criteria
Ivory Coast  Flag of Cote d'Ivoire.svg0–0Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal
Brazil  Flag of Brazil.svg2–1Flag of North Korea.svg  North Korea
Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
Attendance: 54,331
Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary) [79]

Brazil  Flag of Brazil.svg3–1Flag of Cote d'Ivoire.svg  Ivory Coast
Soccer City, Johannesburg
Attendance: 84,455
Referee: Stéphane Lannoy (France)
Portugal  Flag of Portugal.svg7–0Flag of North Korea.svg  North Korea
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Attendance: 63,644
Referee: Pablo Pozo (Chile)

Portugal  Flag of Portugal.svg0–0Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 62,712
Referee: Benito Archundia (Mexico)
North Korea  Flag of North Korea.svg0–3Flag of Cote d'Ivoire.svg  Ivory Coast

Group H

1Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 320142+26Advance to knockout stage
2Flag of Chile.svg  Chile 320132+16
3Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg  Switzerland 31111104
4Flag of Honduras (1949-2022).svg  Honduras 30120331
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Tie-breaking criteria
Honduras  Flag of Honduras (1949-2022).svg0–1Flag of Chile.svg  Chile
Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Attendance: 32,664
Referee: Eddy Maillet (Seychelles) [79]
Spain  Flag of Spain.svg0–1Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg  Switzerland
Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
Attendance: 62,453
Referee: Howard Webb (England) [79]

Chile  Flag of Chile.svg1–0Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg  Switzerland
Spain  Flag of Spain.svg2–0Flag of Honduras (1949-2022).svg  Honduras
Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
Attendance: 54,386
Referee: Yuichi Nishimura (Japan)

Chile  Flag of Chile.svg1–2Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Switzerland  Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg0–0Flag of Honduras (1949-2022).svg  Honduras

Knockout stage

All times listed are South African Standard Time (UTC+02)

The knockout stage comprised the 16 teams that advanced from the group stage of the tournament. There were four rounds of matches, with each round eliminating half of the teams entering that round. The successive rounds were the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the final. There was also a play-off to decide third and fourth place. For each game in the knockout stage, any draw at 90 minutes was followed by thirty minutes of extra time; if scores were still level, there was a penalty shootout to determine who progressed to the next round. [82]

26 June – Port Elizabeth
Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay 2
2 July – Johannesburg (Soccer City)
Flag of South Korea (1997-2011).svg  South Korea 1
Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay (pen.)1 (4)
26 June – Rustenburg
Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana 1 (2)
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 1
6 July – Cape Town
Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana (a.e.t.)2
Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay 2
28 June – Durban
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 3
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 2
2 July – Port Elizabeth
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia 1
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 2
28 June – Johannesburg (Ellis Park)
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 1
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 3
11 July – Johannesburg (Soccer City)
Flag of Chile.svg  Chile 0
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 0
27 June – Johannesburg (Soccer City)
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain (a.e.t.)1
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 3
3 July – Cape Town
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 1
Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 0
27 June – Bloemfontein
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 4
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 4
7 July – Durban
Flag of England.svg  England 1
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 0
29 June – Pretoria
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 1Third place
Flag of Paraguay (1990-2013).svg  Paraguay (pen.)0 (5)
3 July – Johannesburg (Ellis Park) 10 July – Port Elizabeth
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 0 (3)
Flag of Paraguay (1990-2013).svg  Paraguay 0Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay 2
29 June – Cape Town
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 1Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 3
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 1
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 0

Round of 16

In this round, each group winner (A-H) was paired against the runner-up from another group.

The round was marked by some controversial referees' decisions, including:

FIFA President Sepp Blatter took the unusual step of apologising to England and Mexico for the decisions that went against them, saying: "Yesterday I spoke to the two federations directly concerned by referees' mistakes [...] I apologised to England and Mexico. The English said thank you and accepted that you can win some and you lose some and the Mexicans bowed their head and accepted it." [85] Blatter also promised to re-open the discussion regarding devices which monitor possible goals and make that information immediately available to match officials, saying: "We will naturally take on board the discussion on technology and have the first opportunity in July at the business meeting." [85] Blatter's call came less than four months after FIFA general secretary Jérôme Valcke said the door was closed on goal-line technology and video replays after a vote by the IFAB. [85]

Uruguay  Flag of Uruguay.svg2–1Flag of South Korea (1997-2011).svg  South Korea

United States  Flag of the United States.svg1–2 (a.e.t.)Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana

Germany  Flag of Germany.svg4–1Flag of England.svg  England

Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg3–1Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
Soccer City, Johannesburg
Attendance: 84,377
Referee: Roberto Rosetti (Italy)

Netherlands  Flag of the Netherlands.svg2–1Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia

Brazil  Flag of Brazil.svg3–0Flag of Chile.svg  Chile
Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
Attendance: 54,096
Referee: Howard Webb (England)

Spain  Flag of Spain.svg1–0Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Attendance: 62,955
Referee: Héctor Baldassi (Argentina)


The three quarter-finals between European and South American teams all resulted in wins for Europeans. Germany had a 4–0 victory over Argentina, and the Netherlands came from behind to beat Brazil 2–1, handing the Brazilians their first loss in a World Cup match held outside Europe (other than in a penalty shootout) since 1950 when Uruguay won the decisive match 2–1. [86] Spain reached the final four for the first time since 1950 after a 1–0 win over Paraguay. Uruguay, the only South American team to reach the semi-finals, overcame Ghana in a penalty shoot-out after a 1–1 draw in which Ghana missed a penalty at the end of extra time after Luis Suárez controversially handled the ball on the line.

Netherlands  Flag of the Netherlands.svg2–1Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil

Argentina  Flag of Argentina.svg0–4Flag of Germany.svg  Germany
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Attendance: 64,100
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan)

Paraguay  Flag of Paraguay (1990-2013).svg0–1Flag of Spain.svg  Spain


The Netherlands qualified for the final for the third time with a 3–2 win over Uruguay. Spain reached their first ever final with a 1–0 victory over Germany. As a result, it was the first World Cup final not to feature at least one of Brazil, Italy, Germany or Argentina.