13 Jul 2010

FIFA lauds South African Cup organisers

8:56 am on 13 July 2010

FIFA has heaped praise on South Africa for a successful World Cup that defied the sceptics, though a bloody bomb attack which killed 74 Ugandan fans watching yesterday's final was a brutal blemish on the continent's joy.

FIFA's president Sepp Blatter gave the Cup organisers his highest possible mark of nine out of ten, but he condemned the bombings saying he hoped soccer could be a force for good in the world.

Spain returned to a heroes' welcome in Madrid where they were greeted by a massive sea of red and yellow clad fans lining the pavements in 40 degree temperatures.

FIFA says a record 15.6 million Spaniards, or nearly 80 percent of television market share, watched yesterday's final and the figure was 90 percent in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile one of the big hits of the tournament, Germany's Paul the oracle octopus, who had a perfect record of eight-for-eight predictions, wasn't universally popular.

Germans threatened to barbeque Paul after he predicted their semi-final defeat by Spain and Graham Sharpe of British bookmakers William Hill said punters had made small fortunes by following Paul's predictions, and he was going to the seaside to eat as much octopus as he could as an act of revenge.