Posts tagged soccer
As often as World Cup finals can be a disappointment for the big name football players (think about Ronaldo, Rooney, Torres and Kaka in particular from this World Cup), they can also provide a platform for young, up and coming football stars to showcase their talent to appreciative audiences. Here are just 10 of the young players who have made a lasting name for themselves in Africa’s first World Cup tournament.
Andrew Ayew (Ghana)
His father is the great Abedi Pele and he is destined to follow in his father’s footsteps. Andrew plays for the French club Aries and he has an eye for timely assists and goals.
Keisuke Honda (Japan)
Honda was the first player in the tournament to tame the controversial Jabulani ball, showing how to keep it down with a brilliant free kick against Denmark in Japan’s 3-1 win. He scored Japan’s first goal of the tournament in Bloemfontein as they shocked African hopefuls Cameroon.
Mesut Ozil (Germany)
Truly one of the finds of the tournament and the 21-year old Werder Bremen midfielder’s contribution to Germany’s march to the semi-finals has been a pleasure to watch.
Alexis Sanchez (Chile)
Sanchez looks set to take over the top striker’s spot from Humberto Suazo if Chile make it to the next World Cup in Brazil, 2014. Sanchez played in all Chile’s matches and was instrumental in helping Chile make it to the knock-out phases of the tournament.
Gerard Pique (Spain)
As a 23-year old, Pique has excelled in partnering the established Spanish defender Carlos Puyol. Pique, who plays for Barcelona has shown his skill by constantly surging forward, putting opponents under pressure.
Vladimir Weiss (Slovakia)
With your father as the coach of the national team, you know you’re going to have to work extra hard to deserve a place in a starting line-up, and Weiss has done just that. The performance of the 20-yr old Weiss has tapped into the expertise of his father and grand-father to help Slovakia progress safely through the group phases in their first ever World Cup appearance.
Jonathan Mensah (Ghana)
Known to South Africans thanks to his tenure with Free State Stars, the 19-yr old Mensah made his first appearance as a back-up player against Australia and has not looked back since, and is considered to be in the running for the Best Defender at the World Cup.
Giovanni dos Santos (Mexico)
Dos Santos has been around, moving from the Barcelona academy to the English Premiership before moving on to Turkey. This 20-yr old has shown great passing ability and strength on the ball and his play was key in helping Mexico progress to the second round.
Javier Hernandez (Mexico)
Already signed to Manchester United for the start of the new Premiership season, Hernandez proved his value by scoring two great goals against France and Argentina. Initially their third choice striker, Hernandez quickly rose to the fore as their main marksman.
Thomas Mueller (Germany)
This remarkable 20-yr old describes his working partnership with Ozil and Lucas Podolski as “smashing” and, with multiple goals in Germany’s crushing wins over England and Argentina, Mueller has scored 4 goals in only 7 international appearances for Germany and is the second highest scorer in the tournament so far.
Original source: http://www.go2010.co.za/
If you have yet to attend your first live World Cup match in South Africa, at one of our 10 stadiums, here are a few handy items you’ll want to pack in your match-day backpack:
If you can’t beat them, join them. There’s no way you’re going to beat the vuvuzelas, so you may as well head down to one of SA’s local supermarkets and pick up your own for R30 ($4). If you pay more than this (particularly in Sandton City or the V & A Waterfront), you’ve officially been ripped off. Practise blowing your own horn before you get the stadium, it can be tricker than you realise. However, if you can’t bring yourself to buy a vuvuzela for the stadium, you want to remember…
If you’ve got particularly sensitive ears or you’re going to be in one of the fully enclosed stadiums (like Soccer City or Cape Town Stadium), you might find a set of ear-plugs handy. A stadium like the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg is mostly open (only one part of the stands covered), so the noise of the vuvuzelas escapes and you can hold a conversation with relative ease. In Soccer City however, the roof over the stands serves almost as a lid which keeps the noise in, allowing it to reverberate around the stands. Don’t bother even attempting a conversation.
Coca-cola bottle tops
All drinks sold inside the stadiums are sold in plastic bottles with their lids removed. Thus, if you’re buying multiple bottles to keep you going through the match, you’re going to have to be pretty careful not to spill the 3 bottles that you’re not yet drinking from. An easy solution is to take in 3 or 4 screw bottle tops from screw-top (500ml, 1L, 2L) Coca-cola bottles or from Bonaqua mineral water bottles (the brand of soft-drinks and water sold inside the stadiums). Budweiser, the official beer of the 2010 World Cup is sold in 475ml plastic bottles, also with screw lids removed.
VISA card and cash
With VISA being the official (proud) partner of the 2010 World Cup, only VISA credit cards or cash are accepted inside the stadium grounds, so leave your Mastercards, AMEX and Diner’s Club cards at home and make sure that if your credit card is not a VISA, that you have enough cash with you. With 500ml soft drinks and waters selling for R15/bottle; Budweiser at R30/bottle; Boerewors rolls at R30 each; hotdogs at R25 each and supporter flags, shirts and paraphernalia selling for a few hundreds of rands, you’ll need a fair whack of cash to see you through the game.
Camera and video camera
Attending a live game will be a sight and sound extravaganza you won’t want to forget. Take in your camera and your video camera if you have one, and record as much as you can. SLR cameras are fine to take into the stadiums, and you can probably get away with a telephoto lens of up to about 300mm. Tripods and monopods might not be allowed past security, so it’s probably best not to even try.
If you’ve been watching any of the games on TV, you will have noticed that in the evening games, the fans are bundled up in layers, and layers, and layers of warm clothes. When the substitute players are sitting on the bench with a blanket over their legs, you know it’s winter in South Africa. That means sub-zero temperatures in the evenings and early mornings and, if you’re in Cape Town or Port Elizabeth, rain and wind. You won’t be too warm at the 4pm games with a warm jacket and at the 8-30pm games, pack your woolly hat, gloves, scarf and heavy jacket.
Pack the above into a small backpack (space under stadium seats is limited or non-existent), organise your transport to and from the game ahead of time and, above all, embrace the African World Cup experience!