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Culp Reports Live from South Africa

Friday, June 18, 2010

 

First day of travel

MATT CULP REPORTS FROM SOUTH AFRICA

Matt Culp reports from South Africa

This was going to be a long day and one that I wasn't really looking forward to. While waiting for my flight at Logan Airport, I didn't notice much world cup "fever."  Maybe there were a few jerseys here or there on my flight to London.  When I finally arrived in London I noticed many more football fans, mainly English (soccer will now be referred to as football since I am no longer in the US).  On my flight to Jo-burg many countries were well represented including England, Mexico, Spain, and Brazil.  The pilot made a point that he was rooting for England.  The excitement was definitely growing. 

Facepainter in airport

Once I arrived in Jo-burg the World Cup was everywhere to no one's surprise.  It seemed that everyone who worked at the airport was wearing a South Africa jersey.  Vuvuzelas could be heard sporadically throughout the concourse.  The airport was practically buzzing with world cup excitement and this was at 9 in the morning.  Once I reached the domestic flights terminal all countries were basically on parade waving their flags and showing their team support.  It seemed as though one boarding flight was entirely Honduras fans.  While waiting in line to grab my last flight to Cape Town, I became involved in a conversation with three others.  An Englishman who tries to attend all world cup tournaments, an American from San Francisco, and a Brazilian who now lives with his wife in Lake Tahoe.  The topic was obviously football and how Brazil was going to win (according to the Brazilian) or not win.  He did predict the Swiss beating Spain so maybe he knows something.  On the flight I sat next to two Englishmen.  They were at the England/US game and, to my surprise, were impressed by the play of the US.  As I landed in Cape Town and saw Table Mountain in the distance I knew I had arrived at something special.

Aerial view of Cape Town

My takes on the World Cup so far:

Biggest upset: Definitely not the US drawing with England; Spain with their shabby performance against the Swiss, losing 1-0.

Best Performance: North Korea’s excellent bout against Brazil, despite losing 2-1.

Craziest Tidbit: Talk about guts…Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba is playing with a broken arm. Ouch.

Stay tuned for my next update as I head to the England/Algeria game live from South Africa.

England/Algeria Preview

England created this game. However, 1966 is the only time they have won the World Cup. So many times England becomes overrated despite their talent. Wayne Rooney needs to give more than what he did against the US. I have always said that England falls short with their goalkeeping. (As shown with the Green’s performance on Saturday)

Algeria looks more comfortable playing in Europe than in their home continent. Midfielder Karim Ziani needs to have an exceptional game in order to keep this one competitive.  For the most part, Algeria should struggle to score and will look to counter for much of the game.

Prediction: It would be a shocking upset if the Desert Foxes of Algeria defeated the Englishmen. England wins with no problem, 2-0.

 

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