Netherlands fans were by far the brightest and best dressed. This was evident in the final where most of the fans turned up in full orange attire. We saw orange suits with orange ties, orange pastor oufits, orange overalls, orange hairdos, orange balloons shaped into headgear.
Hot on their heels were the Japanese fans in their Samurai outfits with swords to match
Who can forget the Mexican fans at the opening game at Soccer City where they flung their beers in the air when Mexico equalised!
Argentinian fans seemed to be the roughest with at least twenty being deported due to gang-wars. We happened to witness the inter-club rivalry at the Argentina vs Nigeria game at Ellis Park. It was hectic! And that’s putting it mildly!
The Most Supportive fans were definitely Bafana Bafana supporters. English fans were the rowdiest & sang the loudest. The England vs Germany game in Bloemfontein had the best atmosphere after any South African game .
Who will ever forget the now famous Paul, ‘the psychic octopus’, who predicted every German result correctly & then went on to predict the final result as well. He may be calamri by now, but he certainly made his mark
Best stadium has got to be Moses Mabhida – Durban. Rated as one of the top 5 stadiums in the WORLD & rightly so. Its a STUNNING facility! Breathtaking for so many reasons….from the walkway that leads to the stadium from the beach, to the arch that stretches across the top, to the unusual shape and design of the stadium itself. I found myself admiring the architectural aesthetics whenever a game got boring. The acoustics inside the stadium is also amazing in that every cheer somehow seems louder than at of the other stadia.
The Nelson Mandela Bay stadium is also stunning! It may only be a 45 000 seater but the ‘flower’ design is very effective in keeping out the wind and the generous roofing protects the crowd from rain, something we were immensely thankful for during the 3rd/4th place play-off between Germany and Uruguay where the weather was quite nasty.
Bloemfontein may have one of the smallest stadiums in terms of capacity, but has arguably produced amongst the best atmospheres, simply because the seats are located so close to the pitch itself. This serves to creates an impression of cosiness and also allows the famous Bloemfontein Celtic supporters to ‘control’ the crowd with their sing n dance routines.
Worst stadium was undoubtedly Ellis Park. Dreary surrounds, narrow walkways around the stadium, squashed seating. If it had been revamped pre-World Cup, the outcome was not terribly successful.
Tightest security: Loftus in Pretoria, where they took crowd control to new levels by confining us to narrow walkways & confiscated food items. This highlights inconsistency with regards to security levels.
Smuggled sandwiches, crisps and savouries (no self respecting chaarou gathering would be complete without these babies).
At the Stadiums: we were confined to Magnum or King Cone ice creams, hot chocolate or coffee, Lays Plain Salted crisp or Coca Cola products.
Durban beachfront had the most awesome vibe! We experienced the Brazil vs Ivory Coast game there. It was a colourful, vibrant, thrilling place to be!
We watched South Africa beat France, at the Suncoast Fan Park. The atmosphere was electrifying!
Melrose Arch also boasted a Fan Park of note, especially for soccer fans who wanted to dine out and watch games at the same time.
Songs that will play in our memories for years to come come:
Waka waka – Shakira
Wave your flag – K’naan.
They may have been considered an earsore at the beginning of this World Cup but as the games progressed, they were embraced by fans from all over the world. Don’t be surprised if you hear them being blown at other stadiums across the world from now on
Streaker at the Durban semi-final who came into the stadium on a wheelchair & still managed to give security a runaround when he ran onto the field. They were entertaining, to a ‘dagree’. At the final at Soccer City, Jimmy Jumper, the infamous streaker almost made it to the trophy which was on display before the final kicked off.
Durban Semi Final streaker
Jimmy Jumper trying to Cap the Cup
The most anticipated match:
First Round – It had to be Brazil vs Portugal in Durban. Tickets for this game were never opened for sale over the counter. Fans grudgingly forked over R2500 for Category 4 tickets, which cost a mere R140 if they’d bought them directly from FIFA. This match was probably the dullest game of the first round and ended up being a scoreless encounter. Talk of anti-climax!
Most entertaining games:
France vs South Africa , played in Bloemfontein. With a place in the next round at stake for the hosts, the local fans gave it all they had & we beat the French, but sadly Bafana were eliminated
Ghana vs Uruguay at Soccer City, especially after extra time. A Game that will always be remembered as The ‘hand of Suarez’ game & the Gyan penalty miss
3rd/4th place play-off between Germany & Uruguay at Nelson Mandela Bay in PE was a thrilling encounter!
While much was expected of Messi, Kaka & Torres, it was the likes of Honda, Villa, Mueller & Forlan who stood out and delivered the goods… oh and Iniesta of course, who eventually scored the solitary goal that won Spain the final.
Golden Ball was awarded to Diego Forlan for his outstanding performances and dazzling goals that took Uruguay to the semi finals.
Golden Boot was awarded to Germany’s Thomas Mueller for his 5 goals and 3 assists. Although David Villa and Wesley Sneijder also scored 5 goals, they only had 1 assist each.
Thomas Mueller was declared The Best Young Player. Aged, just 20, he was impressive in leading from the front for the Germans & assuring them third place.
Most boo’ed playerof the Tournament was Suarez of Uruguay after his last minute handball incident against Ghana in the Quarter Finals.
Refereeing decisions: England vs Germany, where Lampard appeared to have scored because the ball had crossed the line by at least half a metre but wasn’t picked up by the officials. The cries for goal-line technology to be used grew deafening after this game and I have to agree because that decicion robbed fans of a classic game. Had that goal stood, it would have been 2-2 and game on! The decision cruelly deflated England’s morale and the Germans took advantage of their luck and went on to crush the Pommies 4-1.
Carlos Tevez’s offside goal against Mexico was yet another refereeing boo-boo which will be talked about for many years to come.
The beautiful game may not have produced a beautiful final, but the Closing Ceremony left a lump in my throat and brought tears to my eyes. I have never felt so proud to be South African as I felt during that memorable hour.
The game was rough and referee Howard Webb produced no less than 14 cards, which happens to be a record for a final. Clearly he wanted to go down in the books of history. The Dutch seemed hellbent on stopping the stylish Spanish from playing their short-passing game at any cost and I guess justice prevailed when they were down to ten men and John Heitinga was sent off. Andres Iniesta scored for ‘La Roja’ 4 minutes from the end of extra time.
Opening ceremony: Impressive, bright, well co-ordinated. I loved the ‘pot brewing effect’ with smoke, which was symbolic of a melting pot of nations coming together as well as a melting pot of cultures that we find in South Africa.
Closing ceremony: was dazzling beyond our wildest imagnations. Madiba made an appearance on a motorized cart. The man is so well loved that just by smiling and waving (Graca did not hold his hand to help him wave), he evoked tears of joy to millions. The organisers took full advantage of the cover of darkness and created a dazzling display that included laser technology and fireworks. The end result was nothing short of mesmerising!
South Africa delivered! By having the stadiums ready on time and being as welcoming a Host Country as FIFA could ever have wished for. Sure, security may have been inconsistent, but it was effective. The visible presence of the SAP made us feel secure. Everything was well organised. South Africans of ALL nationalities came out in full support for this World Cup and made it happen. We experienced a friendly buzz at all games that we attended, especially PE, where the locals made us feel so welcome with their humour and smiley faces and by the end of the game we had built bonds with fellow supporters.
Besides the high quality of soccer that we were entertained by, the majestic costumes, creative face-paintings, colourful wigs, dazzling makarapas, cheerful fan songs & exciting mexican waves all added to the experience of a lifetime.
The Facts and Figures
32 teams came to SA with 736 players.
3 178 956 fans attended the games at 64 games in 10 stadiums.
While 3 billion fans witnessed some part of the World Cup on television, the final alone was watched by a global audience of 750 million people.
Questions will be raised today, tomorrow, the day after and next week as to where South Africa goes from here and how it takes the World Cup Spirit forward. But that’s for the future. For now, all South Africans can congratulate themselves on a job well done. It was a Great World Cup, a fantastic tournament – it was Africa’s coming of age…
And that’s a fact!
2010 has been hailed as the best World Cup of all time and I’m just glad to have been a part of it