Sam Wallace: My moments of the World Cup

Sunday 23 October 2011 07:26
Tevez scored a cracking goal
Tevez scored a cracking goal

Greatest goal: The obvious choice would be Giovanni van Bronckhorst's against Uruguay or Carlos Tevez's against Mexico. But I would go for the brilliant finish by South Africa's Siphiwe Tshabalala against Mexico. It was spectacular and the effect on the host nation was electrifying.

Team with most cojones: Chile, who ran Spain and Brazil close, had no established international stars and players from the likes of Reggina and West Bromwich Albion. In the team base was a flag salvaged from a building destroyed in the earthquake that hit Chile in February. Sometimes you watch a team whose pride and spirit shine through: that was Chile.

Stroppiest moment: Robert Duverne, the France fitness coach accused by Patrice Evra of leaking the news of Nicolas Anelka's bust-up with Raymond Domenech. The footage of Duverne stomping off and dramatically throwing away his Fifa accreditation is priceless. Where was he going? How did he get home? Did anyone retrieve the accreditation?

Most blatant attempt to get someone sent off: Italy's Fabio Quagliarella pretending he had been punched by the Slovakian goalkeeper Jan Mucha and writhing around in the net. Pathetic.

Best fans: Basically anyone who did not turn up dressed in a costume or spend all match trying to get themselves on the stadium jumbo screens. Football is about the spectacle of the game. It is not about watching a group of accountants from Bremen dressed up as polar bears.

Best banner: Spotted in the crowd at a North Korea game: "The Dear Leader thinks I'm at work."

Most apt metaphor for the England team: In Cape Town's jumble of raised highways there are two flyovers that end abruptly with a sheer face of rough concrete and steel rods. Work started on them in the 1970s but funding ran out and they were never completed. The road to nowhere.

Guy Fawkes award for least successful leadership coup: John Terry, dear oh dear, what were you thinking? If you are trying to destabilise the England manager first check that your team-mates are supportive of you. If the opposite turns out to be the case, probably best not to do it.

Best quote: Carlos Marchena, Spain's reserve centre-half, on Paul the Octopus's prediction of a Spain win in the World Cup final: "Well, it is just an octopus."

Most relaxed base camp: Ghana switched to the Sun City hotel early in the tournament and it seemed to work wonders for them. Most days and nights you could see the squad working the slot machines in the hotel lobby or signing autographs for the staff. Proof that if you treat professional footballers like adults they might just behave and play accordingly.

Best pre-match warm-up: Seeing as someone else organised all the coaching and tactics for Argentina, Diego Maradona often looked like a man at a loose end. So before games he would demand that his players join in passing games with him in which he would deliberately knock the ball past them, inflicting on the likes of Messi and Tevez the indignity of running off to retrieve it.

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