Friday, May 7, 2010

South Africa 2010 World Cup Fever

Friday, May 7, 2010

Next month, 32 of the greatest footballing nations will descend on South Africa for a month-long football extravaganza that millions of fans wait for in earnest every four years. Household names such as Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney will feature for their respective nations, who will all be giving their best in a bid to take home the coveted Jules Rimet trophy.

Currently in its 19th edition, the World Cup will produce mouth-watering clashes all along the way, from a match featuring minnows North Korea against the highly-fancied Brazilians in the group stages to a final match which could pit Spain against Argentina.

After an arduous qualifying campaign stretching way back to 2007, the 32 teams will come fully prepared to South Africa. The tournament begins with the group stages, and only the top two teams from each group will make it to the last-16 stage. From then on, it’s based on the knockout format, so it will be all or nothing for the teams. Of course, the last team standing would be crowned World Champions.

Looking ahead to the tournament, there seem to be quite a number of teams who can threaten to mount a serious challenge for the top prize. Based on the present formbook, Spain, England and Brazil look to be the best bets, but don’t discount traditional powerhouses such as Germany, Italy, Argentina and France who can turn on the power when needed.

The stage is set for a magnificent tournament, no thanks to this being the first ever World Cup to be held on African soil. African soccer fans can be very fanatic at times, and this will only serve to kick up the atmosphere over there. Moreover, will such passionate fans, an African team might just end up lifting the cup, though the chances of such an outcome is remote.

There are other reasons to think this World Cup will be a success. Certain individuals will be out to silence their critics with some fine displays, most notable Messi who must conjure the same magic he weaves at club level with Barcelona for his country, Argentina, to be considered as the greatest footballer ever to grace the world.

However, amid all the positivity, there have been some drawbacks. Firstly, it was a grave concern that the stadiums could not be completed in time for the tournament due to massive inflations in the cost. Then, for fans that travel from afar, there is the constant threat of robbery on the streets of South Africa as the crime rate in South Africa is amongst the highest in the world.

For me, I just can’t wait for June. This would be my third World Cup, and I am looking forward to a great performance by all the participating nations. Personally, I would be cheering on Germany and Argentina, and I hope to see them play at a high level.

But hold on, there is something that threatens to spoil my fun, and maybe yours. The games would mostly be held in the early mornings, so there needs to be a sacrifice on sleeping and studying hours. And that doesn’t bode well for someone like me sitting for SPM this year.

Who would you be cheering on during the World Cup? Or who do you think will lift the coveted trophy on July 11? Feel free to share your thoughts by dropping a comment below.


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