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Old 12-06-2010, 12:05 PM
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Post Watching the Wold: a guide to South Africa 2010

Watching the Wold: a guide to South Africa 2010



Jun 10, 2010 08:17 PM
Krisit Sipes

Every four years around this time, anticipation overtakes many of us as the World Cup approaches. This summer, 32 of the world’s top national soccer teams will play in South Africa for the sport’s top prize.


The opening match of the 2010 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup South Africa begins on June 11, with South Africa taking on Mexico at 7 a.m. PST. While Mexico is favoured to come out on top, host nations have been known to be uniquely inspired, as was the case for France, who won the title when they hosted in 1998.
The best way to watch the World Cup is at a bar with people you may not know. The soccer fans in the crowd will be more than happy to sweep you up in their excitement, and answer any questions you have.


Canada did not qualify for this year’s tournament, but that just gives Canadians a chance to cheer for anyone. Pick a favourite or an underdog and make them your own.

The passion of national soccer teams playing their sport on the world stage is incomparable to any other sporting event. The lowliest of teams can pull off the most stunning of upsets, seismically shifting the outcome of the tournament.
At the World Cup, a variety of styles of soccer from around the globe are on magnificent display, from the technical prowess of the German team to the impassioned flair of Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions to the sheer magic of the powerhouse Brazilians. Witnessing a contest between two divergent styles of playing can be really interesting and lead to unexpected results.


Here are some group-stage matches that should be worth watching:


Argentina vs. Nigeria These are two strong teams, and the Nigerians, who have two losses and a draw against the Argentines, will be looking to prove their strength. They will face off at 7 a.m. PST on June 12.


England vs. USA England and the States are the two favorites from Group C. Historically, England has had a tendancy to beat the USA. We’ll see if this holds true when the teams meet up at 11:30 a.m. on June 12.


Germany vs. Australia This match will see powerhouse Germany take on the upstart Aussie squad at 11:30 a.m. on June 13.


New Zealand vs. Slovakia The 4:30 a.m. game on June 15 will mark the Slovaks’ World Cup debut and the second time New Zealand has been part of the tournament (their first appearance was in 1982). New Zealand and Slovakia have never played each other before.


Netherlands vs. Cameroon The Netherlands is the Group E favourite, while Cameroon is the top African team in the FIFA ratings, so it should be an exciting game when these teams play on June 24 at 11:30 a.m.


Brazil vs. Portugal Historically, Portugal beats Brazil one-third of the time, so this match, taking place on June 25 at 7 a.m., could be interesting.


The World Cup’s championship match kicks off on July 11 in Johannesburg.


WORLD CUP: WHERE MEMORIES ARE MADE One of my earliest World Cup memories was watching West Germany beat Argentina to win the tournament hosted by Italy in 1990, mere months before the Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War was suddenly finished — as was the West German team.


In 1994 I had the privelege of attending a World Cup match in Washington, D.C. when my home country hosted the tournament. To my surprise, Saudi Arabia beat Belgium 1-0, advancing to the second round. I was sitting directly behind the goal when the Saudis scored, a very cool experience on a hot June day. The Saudis lost to Sweeden 3-1 in the next round and exited the tournament.


The best World Cup memories I have are from 2002, when I watched the tournament taking place in Japan and Korea as I traveled through soccer-crazy Europe. The highlight of the trip was watching the doggedly determined Americans play a great quarter-final match against favoured Germany while I was drinking beer with a bunch of Germans in a tiny neighbourhood bar in Berlin.


Everyone in the bar was utterly enraptured by the TV that had been placed on a table for the occasion. Shouts and cheers erupted intermittently. Although the Americans dominated the game, in the end, they lost 1-0.


Some of the Germans told me afterward that the US should have won the match. I left the bar disappointed by the loss, but elated by the respect.


WHERE TO WATCH: Just because Johannesburg is nearly 16,500 km away doesn’t mean you won’t be able to catch any of the World Cup matches. Several local pubs will be tuning their TVs to the games.
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