Our journey looking at the Tottenham connections with the World Cup comes up to date as we look back just 4 years to South Africa. The 19th tournament and the first finals to be held on that continent. The Tottenham links feature a number of countries. England leading the way with five of our players in their squad. Ledley King, Jermain Defoe, Michael Dawson, Aaron Lennon and Peter Crouch as well as ex-Spur Michael Carrick were in the party.
England‘s first game was with the USA, and the headlines in America read ‘We win 1-1.’ Future Spur Clint Dempsey getting their goal. The next game was a 0-0 with Algeria. England did overcome Slovenia 1-0 with a Defoe goal (top image). Into the knock out stage and England then lost 1-4 to Germany.
The preliminary squad had also included Tottenham’s Tom Huddlestone. Other players with Spurs connections omitted from the final squad were Scott Parker and Darren Bent. Michael Dawson was originally omitted but called up as late replacement, as he had been four years earlier, although he did not play in the competition. Lennon started the first two games whilst Peter Crouch came on as a substitute in both. Defoe came on as a substitute in the second game V Algeria and then started the next two games
The Dutch had beaten Brazil in the quarter-finals. The Brazilian side had Heurelho Gomes in the squad although he did not appear during the competition. The final saw Howard Webb give 14 yellow cards, more than double for a previous final. The old record was held by the Argentina / Germany game in 1986.
The Cameroon team contained two Spurs players Sebastian Bassong and Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Both played in all three games, all of which ended in defeat. The first to Japan in that countries first World Cup win on foreign soil.
Two teams that were expected to progress past the group stage but failed were the Italians and the French. The French included Hugo Lloris and William Gallas (who also joined us after the competition) in their squad. Other players not reaching the knock out stages was Ryan Nelson (signed 2012) who played for New Zealand and Retro Ziegler in the Swiss side who had left in 2008. Another player who left the same year was Lee Young Pyo who again featured for South Korea as they fell at the Round of 16. Whilst the Portuguese side with Pendro Mendes (moved to Portsmouth in 2006) fell to Spain in the same round.
Didier Zokora had left Tottenham the year before and he was in South Africa with the Ivory Coast team who failed to get past the group stage.
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