Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Last Round of 16 matches

Yesterday the last two "Round of 16" matches were played - & I was able to "record" the afternoon match at the Ellis Park stadium in Pretoria - "under" a cloudy sky but with a generally temperate temperature.

At first (about half an hour before "kick-off") it appeared as if this match between Paraguay & Japan wasn't going to be well attended (= lots of empty seats) but . . .

. . . that was a wrong impression. In no time the stadium "filled up", although not only a big Japan "support base" was visible (= the large Japanese flag "covering" a group) - South African flags were also flying, & there's no doubt who the guy with the "shaven hairstyle" (bottom right in the photo) is supporting!?

As the 2 opposing teams lined up for the anthems, you can see in the background how quickly the large flag was "discarded" - after all, the supporters wanted to see what was going on, right?

From this "angle" of the Paraguay team you can see how close to the action we were sitting in the stands.

Game on! & then a Mexican wave actually started "doing the rounds" - 3 times around the stadium! Although the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa is by now "synonymous" with "blaring" vuvuzelas, I recently read that at least a group of 35 people are "required" to start a Mexican wave! Less than that & you have no chance of get THE WAVE going!??

The ball comes "flying", but the Paraguay goalkeeper successfully defends his goal - on closer inspection, though, it doesn't appear as if he's got "his eyes" on the ball!?

At the other end of the field, it was the Japan goalie's turn to make sure Paraguay didn't score.

The game eventually ended in a draw & turned out to be the only game in the Round of 16 to play extra time - it went as far as a penalty shoot-out, which Paraguay won 5-3.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Soccer Mayhem

There were quite a few "disruptions" during last night's soccer game (= Round of 16) between Argentina & Mexico at the Calabash (= Soccer City)

It started in the "normal" way - before the match kick-off, the 2 teams come onto the field to warm up = the Mexican team . . .

. . . and the Argentina team - "a sight for sore eyes", ladies?

But then procedures were disrupted = fliers came flying onto the field from Argentinian fans - at first it looked like toilet paper - LOL - and the soccer volunteers had their "hands full". . .

. . . "schlepping" away the "offensive" material - & that while the 2 countries' anthems were sung (as you can see from the 2 soccer teams "standing at attention").

It happened again once the teams were playing so the Mexican goalie started "cleaning up".

Not to be "outdone", the Argentinian goalkeeper eventually followed suit - however reluctantly - because fliers came also flying on his side of the pitch.

Actually & before the players even came onto the field, "procedures" already had turned "different" - a few Argentinian supporters "assembled" in front of 1 (of 2) big screens = like actors on a stage!?

Again not to be outdone, others in front of the opposite big screen, followed suit - but "by the look of things" (= posing for a group photo), they were probably from the other end of the globe (in contrast to South America)!?

As if coping with "festive" fliers wasn't enough, some soccer players faced another dilemma - which of the 2 balls (the official Jabulani ball or the blue balloon) was the striker meant to kick??

"Back to the Future" - Maradona "playing": follow your leader ??

MORE Maradona "shenanigans" will follow soon.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Vuvuzela Cacophony

This time around, I was able to attend the Germany > Ghana World Cup Soccer Game (for those "in the dark", Germany won: 1-0). As usual it was a colourful "affair" with the Vuvuzelas "blasting" - supplying a constant drone to procedures. Whatever I wrote before with regard to what the Vuvuzela-Sound is likened to, once you "wear" earplugs, I think it just sounds like being "inside" a beehive, surrounded, though, by very angry bees.

As I said, it's always a very colourful affair & obviously, the visiting soccer fans/supporters have quickly "adapted" to wearing South-African-style "hair-does" - by sporting their country's colours.

The "curly wigs" are BIG favourites . . .

. . . whilst draping one's country flag across the shoulders is another way of "revealing" support. I do wonder though - is sporting "Der deutsche Adler" (= the German eagle) on the German flag meant to make a "particular statement"?

A bunch of balloons "disappearing" in the night sky - according to the "colour-scheme", obviously balloons from a Ghana fan/supporter.

Game on!! Playing in front of a near "full-house" at the Calabash = Soccer City in Joburg.

Remember the photo of "Podolski Junior" [SEE: Monday, June 14 - on this blog]? Now we have the "real Mackoy"- Lukas Podolski, one of Germany's star- strikers (= no 10) as well as last night's "scorer", Mesut Oezil (= no 8).

During "half-time", the 2010 World Cup mascot usually makes an appearance - our "very own" Zakumi (= representing a leopard).

Last but not least, is what I was informed are called "Vuvustops" in Germany. We simply speak of "ear-plugs" - to "drown out" the Vuvuzela cacophony - but I think we should all "adopt" calling them Vuvustops!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Brazil vs Ivory Coast

Last night I was able to attend the Brazil versus Ivory Coast World Cup soccer match at the Calabash = Soccer City in Joburg with an almost "full house".

We were surrounded by Brazil fans/supporters, who wore an array of colourful "disguises" - from wigs to over-sized "goggles" . . .

. . . to an interesting "bird-like" headdress (instead of the more traditional "beanie").

Some of these Brazilian supporters even tried to join the general cacophony by blowing OUR vuvuzela - but, I must add, not with much success. After what these Brazilians "produced" I now understand why some people liken the sound with that of a herd of "loudly bleating sheep" - on their way to be slaughtered?

On the jackets of a group of supporters, Zakumi - the World Cup's 2010 mascot - was prominently displayed.

However there was a soccer match to be played - Match no 29 in Group G - with one of the Ivory Coast's attempts to score a goal . . .

. . . but the ball was successfully dispatched of by a header - or did the goalie have a hand in the matter?

Once Brazil scored a goal (end result: Brazil 3 - Ivory Coast 1) I had to watch the replay on one of 2 "big screens", because all around the Brazilian supporters jumped up from their seats, "obscuring" the view of the action on the field for those of us "respectfully" sitting down.

"The Eye in the Sky" - a sophisticated set of cameras recording play below on the field from "swiveling" around high up over the field at Soccer City.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Controversial Vuvuzela

In the mean time, Germany played against Australia (last night) & as every soccer fan knows by now, Germany won 4-0. In "preparation" for this event, Podolski Junior "revealed" which team he supports!!

Other than 10 magnificent stadiums, in which the various World Cup Soccer matches are played "all over" our country, fan parks have become the norm since Germany hosted the last World Cup in 2006. This one is situated on the Mary Fitzgerald Square in front of Museum Africa - with the Joburg skyline as "backdrop".

On closer inspection the central "figure" was built with large Coca Cola crates = Lego-style (as if Podolski Jr - see above - had "a hand" in it!? because I know as a fact that he loves constructing Lego figures & towers).

Talking about Coca Cola - it's an official FIFA partner & their latest advertising is directed at: happiness is. . .

Do you believe that the (controversial) Vuvuzela is South Africa's 12th (or is it 13th) "player"? Is - or will - it assist Bafana Bafana to win games?

It is said that the "plastic" Vuvuzela replaced the original one made from tin, whilst traditionally, it has it roots in African history - it's based on the kudu horn "instrument" (= Kuduzela!??)

In case you aren't as yet familiar with it, the "instrument" (= Vuvuzela) emits (when blown) a loud monotone. According to Wikipedia, commentators are said to have described the sound as 'annoying', and compared it with 'a stampede of noisy elephants', 'a deafening swarm of locusts', 'a goat on the way to slaughter' or 'a giant hive full of VERY angry bees'!!??

Now see for yourself what British soccer fans think of OUR Vuvuzela - not a kudu horn but a "drinking horn"??

Last but not least & in contrast to soccer fans (??) - the soccer paparazzi.

[By the way - Podolski Junior is the cute son of my niece living in Windhoek, Namibia]

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What a Game

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the opening ceremony & the first game between Bafana Bafana & Mexico at the Calabash (= Soccer City) but I watched a taped version on TV afterwards - as most people did world-wide, so what I'm sharing on this blog today has been watched "before" but represents my version of events.

The traffic
all around Joburg was an absolute chaos on Friday, 11 June, & most people wishing to attend the opening ceremony were late because of it.

The opening ceremony was "magic" - a calabash within THE Calabash! Symbolically very significant.

And an "image" I love - the African continent featuring footprints because: we are all Africans = humans "originated" in Africa.

However I had the privilege of attending Match 5 on Saturday evening, 12 June, at the Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg featuring the game between the US of A & England.

The lovely African-themed "signage" next to a very green soccer pitch! After all seeing such green grass (instead of dry, colourless grass) in winter in South Africa is also like magic.

Before the start of the game, the players come out for a warm-up on the field.

The 2 teams line up for the National Anthems just before the start of the game - a colourful "image".

"Game on"! I guess with the deafening sound of thousands of Vuvuzelas blowing during the matches & which the rest of the world watching the action is becoming "accustomed" to, "sign-language" (instead of shouting instructions) is becoming the norm on the field!? :)

THE PHOTO I'm very proud of having "captured" - the "fumbled" goal by England &: the USA scores!!

[Just click on the photo to enlarge]