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(Wall Street Journal) — South Africa defended itself against criticism about violent crime, disruptive labor strikes and lackluster organization ahead of the 2010 World Cup. Now the country is winning widespread praise after a successful tournament, boosting its ambitions to host other major sporting events. “It’s not the safest country and this was our problem,” said Franz Beckenbauer, a member of FIFA’s executive committee who was one of the people who acknowledged the challenges South Africa was facing in hosting the World Cup, which ended Sunday with Spain’s 1-0 defeat of the Netherlands. “But this organizing committee, with help from FIFA, has done a very good job,” said Mr. Beckenbauer, who won Cups as both a player and coach.

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