27 June 2010

World Cup action

After years of watching work on the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium, over the past week we finally got to experience just what it was built for - World Cup action. It certaily lived up to our expectaions. The first match we watched was the final group encounter between England and Slovenia, which England had to win in order to progress. They scraped through 1-0. On Saturday, we watched the first of the last-16 matches, in which Uruguay beat South Korea 2-1.

England fans start to arrive at the spruce stadium.

Two fans, the one on the left going by the name of Luke Bentley and the other his brother Douglas, savour the brilliant architectural and engineering gem as they head to their seats

The glass-fronted booths had us mystified for a while, but we assumed they are special TV commentary studios.

At each match, official flags of the two competing teams flank the Fifa flag.

Sprinklers water the pitch ahead of the game.

England fans stake out their territory with their flags.

England in the foreground, and Slovenia, warm up.

Wherever a space was on offer, the English fans covered it with the cross of St George.

The three in blue on the right are the referee and linesmen, who also need to warm up.

With about half an hour till kick-off, the stand fills up nicely.

Press box. The rows of white "desks" reserved for the media were almost chock-a-block.

Even during practice ahead of the game, Wayne Rooney battled to get the ball into the back of the net. But, in truth, he had a fine game, hitting the upright and setting up several other goal-scoring opportunities.

Shortly before the teams came out, the vuvuzela-led cacophony was at its height, as the last of the spectators took their seats.

The nationl flags are taken onto the pitch ahead of the national anthems.

The game was played in perfect conditions, as reflected in the gentle pink clouds above the stadium shortly before sunset.

Before heading for the stadium on Saturday, we visited the refurbished Donkin Reserve, where this giant SA flag, measuring 12m by 8m was flying.

The 1820 Donkin pyramid and lighthouse have been neatly integrated into the upgrade.

Even the navy was present, with a frigate spotted in Algoa Bay, while tourists enjoy a hands-on sculpture by Anton Momberg on the Donkin Reserve.

Inside the stadium and a group of Korean fans ham it up for the cameras ahead of the game.

A kuduzela - a vuvuzela shaped like the horn of a kudu - and guitar are among the colourful items used by these fans pictured on the big screen during the build-up.

Ref's turn again. The ref and linesmen join the Koreans during warm-up.

The mascot Zakumi, which took something of a back seat to the ubiquitous vuvuzelas, was the fun toy of this young fan, while her dad took pictures of the momentous occasion.

Reminding fans of that epic opening concert at Orlando Stadium, during the build-up snatches of Shakira singing Waka Waka were shown.

Finally, as the warm weather gave way to a cool, cloudy evening, the teams emerged for the anthems.

The Koreans unfurled two massive flags during the singing of their anthem.

There was a throng of photographers at the corners behind both goals.

The Uruguayans celebrate after scoring their opening goal.

The heavens opened towards the end of the second half, as South Korea battled in vain to find an equaliser.


What women want said...

Nice blog but I see you haven't updated it in a while. Can you give us your opinion on the win of Spain ?

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