Who shone in South Africa?
Paul the Octopus, now a resident of Oberhausen, shot to world acclaim after correctly predicting the result of each of Germany's games, as well as the final between Spain and Holland, leaving him with an awesome 100 per cent record from the tournament.
Paul wasn't the only one to impress in South Africa, as a few others notched up (or nearly at least) perfect records:
- Diego Forlan, winner of the Golden Ball award, was inches away from claiming the competition’s top goalscorer accolade when his majestic free-kick cannoned off of the bar in final seconds of Uruguay’s third place play-off defeat to Germany.
- However, the award went to the Young Player of the Tournament, Thomas Mueller, who, going into his first World Cup tournament, bagged his first five goals for Germany to finish as the top marksmen of the World Cup.
- Holland were four minutes away from remaining unbeaten throughout the entire tournament, and had they won Sunday's final, would have done so with a 100 per cent record, having secured victory in all their previous matches. (Incidentally, the only team to remain unbeaten in the tournament was minnows New Zealand.)
- Stop press! Spain like to pass the ball. Vicente Del Bosque's side racked up a monstrous 3,882 completed passes (including crosses and corners) during the tournament, with an 80 per cent completion record. Their star man wax Xavi, who was responsible for 584 of those - more than any other player in a tournament since 1966 - with his own completion record of an impressive 81 per cent.
- Easiest game to referee? Spain's semi-final win over Germany for Hungarian official Viktor Kassai who only had to blow his whistle 16 times - the least of any ref at the tournament - not reaching into his pocket once.
- Although they crashed out in the quarter-finals to the Netherlands, Brazil are still the only team to have appeared in every World Cup since 1930 - 19 in total.
- Switzerland were just one goal away from matching their 2006 perfect defensive record, where they didn't concede at all. Chile's Mark Gonzalez was the only player to breach the Swiss defence, which meant they had gone 559 minutes at World Cups without letting one in - a new record.
- Even though there were plenty of empty seats in some of the venues, Soccer City in Johannesburg was the place to be, with a near perfect attendance record. In the eight games played there 670,809 people turned up in total, an average of 99.2 per cent capacity, which amounts to about 639 people who didn't both going. Lazy.
- Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain hit the only hat-trick of the tournament in the 4-1 win over South Korea and it was nearly a perfect hat-trick. He only needed to turn one of his headers into a right foot shot to have achieved it.
What other statistics impressed you? Leave YOUR suggestions of contenders for Paul's crown below...