South Africa hosted the first World Cup in Africa which was intended as another coming of age event for the former apartheid nation.
The host nation tumbled out after the group stages however. And of six African nations present only Ghana made it past the first round before bowing out in the quarter-finals.
Only six out of 13 European qualifiers reached the second round, a record low. England were thrashed 4-1 by old rivals Germany in the last 16. But European powerhouses Netherlands and Spain swept aside allcomers to reach the final.
European champions Spain beat Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in the second round and Paraguay in the quarter-finals, both 1-0. They saw off Germany by the same score to reach the final.
The Dutch dug deep to beat Slovakia 2-1, Brazil by the same score and Uruguay 3-2 to book their final place.
The final was a crunching, negative affair with 14 yellow cards, more than doubling the previous record for the showpiece match. Dutch centre back John Heitinga was sent off for two yellow card fouls.
Dutch strongarm tactics kept the match goalless for 90 minutes, but Andres Iniesta scored in extra-time to give Spain their first World Cup win.