Some of the facts and figures behind SA2010 – who would have thought New Zealand would be the only unbeaten team?
* Spain’s run to football’s ultimate prize featured four consecutive 1-0 victories in the knockout stages, a new first. Stopper Iker Casillas did not concede a goal in more than six hours of football, while Spain’s overall record of just two goals against matches the feat of previous winners France (98) and Italy (2006).
* Sunday’s final was the most ill-tempered on record, with 14 yellow cards and one red. That red, to the Netherlands’ John Heitinga, meant he was the fifth man to be sent off in a World Cup final.
* Overall at SA2010 there were 145 goals scored, down two on the 2006 tournament in Germany. The average goals per game has been steadily dropping since a high-point of 2.71 at USA ’94. SA2010 saw the ball hit the back of the net on average just 2.26 times per match.
* The red and yellow card count was down from Germany 2006 as well, although that is the dirtiest World Cup in history. Four years ago, there were 307 yellow cards and 28 reds, this time there were 259 yellows and 17 reds. That’s an average of 4.07 yellow cards per game, and 0.27 reds.
* Paul the Octopus proved to be the best pundit, correctly predicting eight matches, seven involving Germany. The odds of him doing were as much as 864/1 when you take into account the three group games he was asked to consider could have ended all square.
* The only unbeaten team at SA2010? Group F minnors New Zealand, who returned home with three draws, against Italy, Paraguay and Slovakia.
* Spain became the first team to win the World Cup after losing their first match of the tournament. They also became the first European team to win a World Cup outside of Europe, and the first first-time winners since France lifted the trophy in 1998.
* The Netherlands now have the unwanted record of losing three World Cup finals, their 1-0 defeat sitting alongside reverses against Germany and Argentina in 1974 and 1978.
* There was a four-way tie for the Golden Boot, the first since 1994, with the eventual winner, Thomas Mueller, being awarded the prize on assists. On only three previous occasions has the Golden Boot been won by a player scoring five goals or less.