Looking forward to 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

January 1, 2000

So You Think It’s All Over! 

With over two million tickets already sold, I don’t think so. This being the last home game of the season we are usually looking forward to a bit of a break before we resume in again in earnest come August, but not this year.  

Last Monday we were trying to fix the date for a meeting of the Supporters Club Executive in June and came up with Monday 21st when one of our number reminded us in what may best described as with  a horrified expression, “ Spain are on at half past eight.” And so the World Cup looms. Football as we normally know it in June and July of this World Cup finals year is definitely not all over. 

A number of players are scrambling to make it and in the key position of world class striker no less. Players who would look to add the Golden Boot award to team success. Liverpool’s Fernando Torres is struggling to make the highly fancied Spanish line up following knee surgery and Chelsea’s Drogba is fighting against time and full fitness to join his Ivory Coast colleagues for their first game against Portugal. Then there is England’s Wayne Rooney who can’t seem to shake off his ankle problem and would you believe it, I was listening to an American radio interview with David Beckham only this last week; he is still hopeful as well. We shall see. It must be a player’s worst nightmare to miss the World Cup finals through injury. 

So what have we got to look forward to apart from ear ache from our respective non football following partners and alike; must admit I am lucky in this regard and I hope you are too. Eight groups with four teams in each group before we get to the final knockout stages will keep us all glued to the television screens for starters. Hosts South Africa find themselves in the pot with France. Baggs the Ref to give every hand ball going in that game; or will he? Surely not again; someone in charge must see it this time. What ever happened to the luck of the Irish? 

There will be two Koreans for the first time and a reminder of North Korea in 1966. How about the Korean Republic up against the might of Argentina and Korea DPR up against Brazil? Tough going for both you would think. Then there is an onslaught (ish) from down under with both Australia and New Zealand making it through. Problems for both these nations as well you would wager with games against Germany and Italy respectively. England would appear to have it pretty cushy in the early stages but who can trust the Americans? It couldn’t happen could it? 

We will all have our selections not to miss but here are the pick of the group stages for me. In Group A we have Mexico against Uruguay; nice little South American affair. Group B brings together Argentina and Nigeria; sparks may fly. In Group C the Boys up against the US of A; please God. In Group D I’m going for Australia against Ghana; anything could happen. Group E brings together the Netherlands and Denmark; very neighbourly. Paraguay against New Zealand in Group F; no idea, could either of them beat Stevenage I wonder?. Then there is Brazil v Portugal in Group G; very tasty. In Group H take your pick; don’t miss any Spanish game. For me they are the team to beat. 

Of course you may not need the telly, you could have booked to go or maybe you are still thinking about it. You could choose a venue or you could go team specific. Team Specific Ticket Series (TST) are ticket strips to follow the national team of your choice. Depending on which TST Series you apply for ,your ticket strip may include between 3 and 7 matches and you may apply for a maximum of 4 TST series; phew. If your team is eliminated and your TST Series includes rounds after your team has been eliminated, your TST will remain valid to follow the team that progresses into the nest round of the competition. Sounds complicated to me and with all the air travel just a shade expensive. 

Perhaps stick to a venue then. Host cities range from Polokwane in the north to Cape Town in the south. Durban and Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth lie on the coast if the beach appeals. Inland you can take your pick of Rustenburg, Twhwane/Pretoria, Johannesburg, Nelspruit and Mangaung/Bloemfontein. How about Durban then with it’s Golden Mile, a four kilo stretch of beaches, restaurants and promenades. Not the beach sort? Try Nelspruit surrounded by some of the country’s most spectacular game reserve and the famous Kruger National Park.  

For England it is Rustenburg, Cape Town and Nelson Mandel Bay/Port Elizabeth. For the adventurous, Rustenburg is in the heart of the savannah bushveld, brimming with natural beauty at the foot of the Magaliesburg Mountains. How about somebody at the heart of the England defence, brimming with natural talent at the foot of Wayne Rooney; sit back and enjoy! 

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