Banner Year for African Football

Posted by | European Soccer | Friday 17 December 2010 12:00 am

As 2010 closes out another epic 12 months in football, a World Cup year at that, in looking back perhaps it can best be remembered as a year in which Europe was reminded it’s not alone in the world of soccer. Though talents abroad , in South America in particular, have been well-documented for decades, improvement in places like the United States and Africa are helping to show the gap between the perceived “haves” and “have-nots” is ever shrinking in the global game.At the end of ’09, practically every football forecaster would anticipate a rise in Africa’s football performance, for no reason other than playing host to sport’s biggest stage. As South Africa invited football fans the world over to watch the best of the best national squads compete against one another, Spain may have walked away victorious and the Netherlands survived until the bitter end, but other typically prominent European nations found no such luck. France and Italy, usually major players on the world scale, failed to advance past the group stage of the tournament, while England’s uninspired performance gave opportunity for the Americans to win their group, even if England did qualify for the round of 16. While South Africa itself could not defend its home turf, the African nation of Ghana did make an inspired run into the final 8, defeating the Americans, before succumbing to Uruguay in a match decided by penalties. (more…)