Top 10 flops of the World Cup 2010
10. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Yes, I know it’s not all his fault, that is indeed common knowledge. However, the truth is Portugal depend on him to deliver and he failed to live up to the hype on the international stage…again. Blame Carlos Queiroz too, but when the Real Madrid superstar starts to look disinterested you have to admit it makes your blood boil and gets on your nerves as we are well aware of his capabilities.
9. Jonas Gutierrez (Argentina)
Oh Maradona, your selection policy should be one of the wonders of the world to behold. How the Newcastle man was Argentina’s starting right-back no one could fathom and eventually not even coach Diego could stand his puzziling performances anymore. To quote a pundit: “he was so bad that even Maradona dropped him.”
8. Nicolas Anelka (France)
After such a good club season with Chelsea, some figured Anelka would finally come good on the international stage. However, he was the personification of France’s nightmare. Absolutely invisible and non-threatening, he went over – this isn’t a joke – 400 minutes without taking a shot for Les Bleus before being sent home after criticising his coach Raymond Domenech when taken off at half-time in a loss to Mexico. Speaking of Raymond, the one everyone hates, he too was a contender for this list, but it’s not all his doing, since everyone knew he was a few baguettes short of a bread basket and should have been sacked after Euro2008.
7. Otto Rehhagel (Greece)
I never thought I’d see the day a king became the village idiot, but here we are. He must have thought this was still 2004, but teams were not deluded versus them as they were in that European Championships. His team had no ambition and no hope. Unwatchable, partly due to what appeared to be a six-man backline at times. They won one match versus Nigeria, but only because the Africans imploded.
6. Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)
The ‘Berlin Wall’ of 2006 was a shadow of his fomer self. Clearly past it physically, the 36-year-old made some atrocious mistakes versus Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia. The captain and symbol of his side only epitomised how slow, lacklustre and insipid the Azzurri were. Yes, I could have chosen almost any of his team-mates (Alberto Gilardino, Daniele De Rossi and Vincenzo Iaquinta among them) as well, but after such a drop-off in a brilliant career, how could I resist. His best highlight was handing over the trophy at the final – over two weeks after the now ex-champions bowed out at the first hurdle.
5. Felipe Melo (Brazil)
The Juventus curse continues with the Brazilian, who was one of the main culprits of the Samba Boys exit at the hands of finalists Netherlands. An own goal (later credited to Wesley Sneijder) and a needless and petulent red card against the Oranje were a major reason the South Americans were sent home earlier than expected.
Before a ball was kicked they were counting on making it into the knockout stages and were one of the hopes for Africa, However, earning just one point and flopping in the group stages, it quickly became apparent they were in dissarray. They were so terrible that Head of State Goodluck Jonathan imposed a two-year ban for the team before he later rescinded it under pressure from FIFA.
3. Fernando Torres (Spain)
The oft-injured Liverpool talisman clearly wasn’t at his best for the triumphant Roja, even if he did play a [small] part in their World Cup winning goal. He was rusty, lacked sharpness, his finishing was beyond poor and no one more than himself will find it embarrassing to waste chance after chance and eventually be relegated to the bench for the start of the semi-final and final.
2. Marcello Lippi (Italy)
The same tactician who made inspired substitutions and created a compact yet free-flowing world champion outfit in 2006 was unable to bring anything positive to 2010. For two years telling the Italian public to trust that he would create a side capable of challenging and defending their title, the ex-Napoli boss arguably put together the worst Italy side in history, collecting only two points. Baffling personnel decisions, tactics, and an overall lack of creativity and urgency ensured only a horrific, but spectacular, group stage exit.
1. Wayne Rooney (England)
‘Wazza’ was expected to deliver for England, but was indeed the biggest disappointment in South Africa. No goals and visibly frustrated for long stretches, the Manchester United goal-scoring machine did not replicate his club form with the Three Lions. Worse still, he told his own fans off, when he should have acknowledged deficiencies. Of all players, the undeniable flop of the tournament. Was the burden of expectation just too much?