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„Wir waren Anfang April für 5 Tage in CASARITA und haben uns sehr gut erholt! Wir waren schön wandern und spazieren und haben die Frühlingssonne genossen.  Die Zimmer sind gemütlich und Madita hat in dem Babybett sehr gut geschlafen."
Katrin Schröder, Talheim, Baden Würtemberg

FIFA World Cup Report – Korea DPR v Argentina PDF
Friday, 18 June 2010 00:00

from Carolyn Emmett, Montejaque's correspondent in South Africa

Korea DPR v. Argentina game at Soccer City Stadium, Soweto, June 17th at 1:30 p.m.

Finally got to see some goals. (I don't really count the whiffy 1-all draw between USA and England)! Of all the stadia visited so far, I found Soccer City to be the most impressive – despite the stupid remark made by the Sky TV sports anchor that it looks “a bit of a mess.” It seats 90,000 people, and there were 88,734 of us there on Thursday afternoon ... 88,000 of whom, at first glance, seemed to be Argentina supporters. The most fun for us was the fact that Matthew’s friend, Yong, is from Korea, and his other friend, Saurabh, supports Argentina.

Matthew and Yong both painted their faces with the Korean flag, while Saurabh wore his blue-and-white-striped jersey. On the way to the stadium, Yong bought an enormous Korean flag, overshadowing the Argentina one that Saurabh had. It made it very easy for us to track his progress through the crowds to get to our seats ... particularly as he seemed to be the only Korean in the crowd! I think the boys are on a LOT of Facebook pages, as everyone wanted to take their picture – as rival fans but best of friends.

That camaraderie between opposing fans has made attending these World Cup games particularly special. Oh, yes, we care if our team wins or loses (4-1 to Argentina was disappointing for Yong and Matthew ... and for me, too, as I was also rooting for the Koreans, since I remember “The Hand of God” and the Falklands War!), but there’s been no animosity. A minor scuffle did break out in the parking lot after the game, but it was between two Argentina supporters; I knew that it wouldn’t be with the Koreans, because they know all those kung-fu and tae-kwon-do moves!

We had, as before, great seats – although I wondered if I’d get a nosebleed as we were up so high, and seemed to be sitting almost vertically. The American behind us (the one who wanted to buy my blanket) bought us beers because I lent him my spare pair of ear-warmers. Oh, yes, and there weren’t lengthy beer or loo queues in this stadium either; it was all very well organised. And there were TVs inside, so you could watch the game as you stood in line for your boerwors roll or chilli dog; in fact, I missed one of the Argentina goals ‘live’, as I’d gone off to get something to eat, but was able to see it on the overhead TV. On returning to my seat (perch?), Kevin remarked: “You missed a goal.” “No, I didn’t,” I replied smugly.

Park-(and-walk-a-marathon)-and-ride facilities were well orchestrated, especially as the game ended at the start of rush-hour. Considering the attendance at the stadium, it was a helluva lot of cars to manoeuvre out of the Wits University campus into the regular going-home traffic, but the police did it well and happily. (Best part was when someone tried to drive into the intersection before it was his turn; a policeman ran up to his car and pounded on the bonnet (hood) and told him to back up)!

I have tickets to only two more games now: Greece vs. Argentina in Polokwane on Tuesday, and Denmark vs. Japan in Rustenburg on Thursday. (Let’s see if the latter has organised itself any better now, after the June 12th fiasco). Only the boys are going to the Greece vs. Argentina game, as I don’t fancy another bum-numbing, leg-cramping drive (four and a half hours); they’ve managed to find accommodation at a game lodge just outside Polokwane, and there’s a whole group of them sharing it – both Greek (another of Matt’s friends) and Argentina supporters.

I’ll get an account of the game from the boys, and report back next weekend, after Matthew and Saurabh have returned to Canada on Friday evening.

If you want to see photos of our ‘outings’, click on the link below; it’s Saurabh’s ‘blog site’, and he’s taken some incredible pictures that really capture the atmosphere I’m trying to convey in these writings. “A picture paints a thousand words.” So I’ll shut up now.

© Carolyn Emmett


Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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