Welcome to South Africa FIFA World Cup 2010!
After four years, the time comes again. the time where football conquers planet earth. for a month we shall witness the greatest sport, uniting the world in one place, with one goal – to be the world champion. this year, for the first time the world cup tournament made africa the center stage.
After years of preparation, the World Cup finally gets underway in South Africa today, the first time it has taken place in the continent of Africa.
The open ceremony begins at 2pm (1200GMT) in Johannesburg’s Soccer City but there are doubts whether former president Nelson Mandela will attend after it was revealed his 13-year-old great-granddaughter had been killed in a car crash as she returned from the pre-World Cup concert.
The ailing Mandela was due attend some of the 40-minute opening celebrations which are expected to be watched by almost a billion people in 215 countries.
“South Africa has come alive, and will never be the same after this World Cup,” said President Jacob Zuma. “Nelson Mandela worked hard so that we could win the right to host this tournament. We dedicate the World Cup to him.
“There are a few moments that define a nation’s history. We stand on the threshold of one.”
On Thursday night there was a massive concert at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto where 30,000 watched Shakira, Alicia Keys, the Black Eyed Peas as well as local musicians such as Hugh Masekela.
Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the local organising committee, said: “For me it will be a dream come true. It’s a great moment in the World Cup’s 80-year history.
“People said no African country could ever deliver this event. But we are showing that we can’t just match what others have done but that we can do even better. Now the doubters are the believers.”
“Everywhere, one can feel, I hope, that this World Cup is very special, the first on African soil,” FIFA president Sepp Blatter added. “We find ourselves in a position of indescribable anticipation. More importantly, this competition will prove that South Africa, and the African continent in general, is capable of organising an event of this magnitude.”
There was good news for the organisers on Wednesday when FIFA announced 97% of the 3.1 million tickets had been sold, although there has been much criticism of pricing which some claim has shut out many locals. However, last-minute initiatives have made unsold tickets available to many of those who had missed out.
the tournament shall start tonight with south africa playing mexico. i may not be in africa but i’d b glued to the tv once the event starts.. 32 teams qualified to the world cup finals. these are my personal opinion on each group..
Group A – France, Mexico, South Africa, Uruguay
a well balanced group. france however can be very good or may even be hopeless.. if i had to choose, i’d pick france and south africa for 2nd round. but never underestimate mexico and uruguay. both are capable of moving on. should france slip, the two will fight to the death. south africa had the home ground advantage here..
Group B – Argentina, Greece, Nigeria, South Korea
argentina sure is the clear favourite to finish top spot. the other three would fight hard for the second spot. and that would be tough to choose.
Group C – Algeria, England, Slovenia, United States
england seems the choice here. united states and slovenia will have to prove which of them deserves the 2nd place.
Group D – Australia, Germany, Ghana, Serbia
i would say this is the group of death. all four exhibits tough and hard gameplay. i choose germany since that’s my favourite team. ghana is damn quick at counters, serbia plays some safe, tough and hard tactics while socceroos have the strenght as an asian chanpion..
Group E – Cameroon, Denmark, Netherlands, Japan
netherlands form have been outstanding lately. no doubt they are the clear favorite to advance here. the rest shall compete for 2nd place.
Group F – Italy, New Zealand, Paraguay, Slovakia
not goal galore from this group i guess. italy might play like they always do while the rest does not show much of attacking football either.
Group G – Brazil, Ivory Coast, North Korea, Portugal
brazil and portugal to advance from here.
Group H – Chile, Honduras, Spain, Switzerland
spain had an easy 1st round matches. 2nd could be any of the three..
my favorite team: Germany
to those football fans.. lets enjoy this 1 month!