Another FIFA World Cup is almost over
I must admit that I was not prepared for the month of football craziness which has rushed over South Africa since the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on the 11th of June. So far 60 matches have been played in the tournament. Only 4 matches are left and only 4 teams remain of the initial 32 that started in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Since Bafana Bafana have been eliminated from the tournament I am backing the Netherlands. I would like to thank 2 of my fellow employees who have made the effort to be almost completely kitted in orange (including shoe laces) in support of the Netherlands for the inspiration.
This past weekend I watched all 4 the quarter final matches in the tournament (along with most of South Africa). On Friday I made the 300 meter journey from my workplace to the nearest pub to catch the first match of the weekend between Brazil and the Netherlands. I only caught the 2nd half of the match but it was one of the best matches I’ve seen in the tournament. The Netherlands completely outclassed Brazil in the match and managed to beat them by 2 goals to 1. It was the 10th time in history that the 2 nations met on a football field and the 3rd time that the Netherlands managed to beat Brazil in footballing history.
I then went off to the next pub to watch the game between Ghana and Uruguay at Soccer City in Johannesburg. I was hoping that Ghana would win the game (like most South Africans). This was an absolute cracker of a match. After 90 minutes the scores were all tied up (1-1). The match went into extra time. In the last minute of extra time Luis Suares (a Uruguayan player) blocked a ball bound for his side’s goal with his hand (earning himself a red card and 1 match suspension in the process). Ghana was awarded a penalty, but unfortunately their attempt hit the cross bar and the match went to a penalty shootout. The Uruguayan goal keeper saved 3 of the Ghanaian’s attempts in the shootout (which effectively knocked Ghana out of the tournament). Ghana was the last African team left in the tournament. Suares’ conduct has become the subject of widespread debate in the South African and International media. I think it’s very arrogant of Suares to claim that his team was saved by “the hand of God” (even though he was punished for conduct) and I hope FIFA ban him for longer than 1 match.
After recovering from Friday’s night out I watched Germany take on Argentina at Cape Town stadium in the 3rd quarter final match in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Germans completely outclassed the Argentinians, beating them by 4 goals to 0. The Germans are definately looking like the favorites to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup. If Germany win the tournament it will be their 4th FIFA World Cup victory in history. They last won the competition in 1990 in Italy. On Saturday night Spain took on Paraguay at Coca Cola Park stadium in Johannesburg. The match turned out to be one tense affair. First Paraguay were awarded a penalty (which was saved by the Spanish goal keeper) and less than a minute later Spain were awarded a penalty on the other side of the field. Even though the Spanish penalty attempt was successful the referee ordered Spain to retake it because some of their players had crossed the line before the attempt. The 2nd attempt was saved by the Paraguayan goal keeper. Spain finally scored the winning goal in the last 10 minutes of the match (earning them their first semi-final spot in FIFA World Cup history).
Today Uruguay take on the Netherlands in Cape Town. I hope the Netherlands knock out the last South American team in the tournament. Uruguay have 2 FIFA World Cup tournaments in their footballing history (in Uruguay in 1930 and in 1950 in Brazil). The Netherlands have never won the FIFA World Cup but have played in 2 finals in the past (in 1974 in West Germany and in 1978 in Argentina). Although Ghana did not take all their chances in their quarter final match against Uruguay I still think they deserve justice. Tomorrow Germany will take on Spain in the 2nd Semi Final match at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban. This has been a FIFA World Cup of upsets and it would be a giant one if Spain manage to beat the mighty Germans. I think the Germans will prove to be too strong for the Spanish team and that we’ll probably see a final between 2 of the biggest football rivals in the world, Germany and the Netherlands.
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