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South Africa (Jun 12) – The FIFA World Cup 2010 kicked off yesterday with the host nation of South Africa playing the opening game against Mexico. Despite many people assuming it would be an anti-climax it turned out to be a very good game, particularly when you compare it to the second game of the day, France versus Uruguay that was among one of the most terrible and boring games I have ever witnessed… At this point I should mention that I grew up watching Scottish league football, so I am used to watching really terrible football.
The opening ceremony was beautifully put together, and was in no way terrifying like that of the Beijing Olympics. As one would expect it was colourful and beat-tastic. One person was noticeable in his absence, the man responsible for helping shape South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who was unable to attend after the tragic death of his young great granddaughter in a car crash the night before the tournament.
The big surprise in the opening game was that the hosts took the lead. Despite a long standing record of host nations winning the opening games there was a lot of pressure as Mexico have been round the World Cup block a few times. The goal itself was an absolute cracker… If you need to score the opening goal in a World Cup in front of your home crowd, you might as well smash it right in the top corner… Like Siphiwe Tshabalala did. Sadly Mexico scored to equalize through Barcelona’s Marquez, although their goal was messy and a gift from the often-shaky African defence. South Africa had a chance in the dying minutes to win it, sadly Katlego Mphela could only watch as his effort slid past the out of position goalkeeper and struck the outside of the upright.
Once that game finished I sat patiently for over two hours to watch the night game… I wish I hadn’t. I should have known better than to expect anything from the French national football team. Now that they don’t have Zidane they have very little in the way of class and are ultimately boring. Uruguay were not great to watch because a stiff breeze, or a rogue long blade of grass seemed to knock their strikers over. At one point I made a sudden movement on my couch and a Uruguay player went down. Thankfully, the ref kept his cards in his pocket and I remained on my couch.
The game ended 0-0, and had no redeeming qualities. Uruguay went down to 10 men after Nicolas Loderio was sent off for two bookings, his second came 10 minutes after he had entered the game as a substitute when he decided to test the flexibility of the ankle belonging to the French defender Sagna.
Today (Sat 12 June) will see Argentina face Nigeria, Korea will play Greece and the USA will be playing England. The media in Britain is playing up the USA England game as a grudge match because President Obama has temporarily forgotten what Country he is in charge of and has started blaming Britain for the oil leak on the Gulf coast. Obama would do well to remember that although the company is called British Petroleum, it is a multi-national corporation and Americas thirst for oil is the only thing to blame. Although if he wants to start blaming people for horrible catastrophes then we can all join in and talk about Bhopal. Maybe he could focus his attention more on paying the thousands of people affected by the explosion in India over two decades ago, and less on trying to destroy the UK economy with his hypocritical nonsense.
But we can save that debate for another day it is world cup time after all… In addition, I will be supporting the USA against England, because it would be unfair to condemn an entire nation of people based on foreign policy and leadership. If one were to judge a nation on such things then the US would have very little in the way of friends.
Predictions for today; Argentina, Greece and USA to win their matches.