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.

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