Ambush marketers get bail; Service-delivery protesters point fingers at Fifa; Chile outclasses Honduras; Switzerland upsets Spain; Bafana too generous for their own good; Lego footballers score!
The Fifa vs Bavaria ambush marketing war became even nastier on Wednesday, with two Dutch women being arrested early in the morning in connection with the case. Their case was postponed, and will be tried in a Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on 22 June. The women were granted bail of R10,000 each, and their passports were confiscated. The Netherlands minister of foreign affairs has labelled the arrests “outrageous”. Fair comment: Fifa might’ve made up a whole lot of new laws just for the tournament, but surely it should be going after Bavaria rather than its orange agents? We hope, at least, the brewer is paying for the girls’ lawyers.
A lot of people (some reports estimated thousands, others only hundreds) marched from Botha Park to the City Hall in Durban on Wednesday morning, in a service-delivery protest. The protestors were particularly angry about money being spent on the hosting the World Cup, rather than delivering basic services. Chants of “Get out Fifa mafia!” resounded throughout the park and security guards who had staged a protest at Moses Mabhida Stadium late on Monday night joined in the march. The SAPS has taken control of security at four stadiums, following a walkout by security staff unhappy with remuneration from their employee, Stallion Security.
Chile didn’t quite earn the moniker of “red-hot chilli peppers” for their performance on Wednesday, but nevertheless they outclassed fellow South Americans, Honduras to walk away with a 1-0 win. Forty-eight years to the day since Chile beat the former Yugoslavia in 1962, they finally won another World Cup match, ending a dry spell of almost half-a-century. The Hondurans, who boast the distinction of having three brothers in their squad, two of whom were in the starting line-up, never really stood a chance, and it’s surprising the margin of their defeat wasn’t higher.
Switzerland took on Spain in the last match of round one, in an exciting game that made up somewhat for the many, many boring ones that preceded it. The cuckoos (okay, that’s not really their nickname, but you know who we mean) beat the Spanish favourites 1-0, in what has to be the biggest upset of the tournament so far. Pundits have been at a loss to explain the result, but we’d like to point out that Fifa boss Sepp Blatter is Swiss. What Fifa wants Fifa gets, and Blatter is the embodiment of Fifa. You do the maths.
Bafana Bafana’s overly generous nature let the whole of South Africa down on Wednesday night. In giving away a first goal to Uruguay they were merely playing the polite hosts, as we have come to expect. But alas, like a fatally flawed Shakespearian hero, it was our boys’ kind hearts that undid them. Because neither the Uruguayan team, nor the ref, played the game in the same warmth of spirit. After Itumeleng Khune received a controversial red card (and Forlan scored his second goal of the night), Bafana had a rude awakening: they found out that life is unfair, especially to the nice guys. Our honourable idealists’ illusions shattered, it’s no wonder that they conceded yet another goal before the game was over. It’s hard to concentrate on soccer when you’re grappling with bigger existential matters (unless you’re in a Monty Python sketch, that is). The upshot of it is that Bafana need a miracle against France to advance to the second round. But that shouldn’t be a problem: South Africa specialises in miracles.
German teen Fabian Moritz’s Lego Fussball website has suddenly received a whole lot more hits over the last few days. Moritz has been making films of soccer games featuring Lego players since 2007, and his recreation of Robert Green’s howler in Saturday’s England-USA game (commissioned by The Guardian) has gone viral. He’s also immortalised the South Africa-Mexico opening game in plastic bricks. (And yes, you do get black Lego men these days, in case you were wondering.) Cheer yourself up by having a peek at Tshabalala’s goal: It’ll remind you of just what Bafana can achieve when they put their minds, or rather their boots, to it.
13:30 Argentina vs South Korea, Johannesburg (Soccer City)
16:00 Greece vs Nigeria, Bloemfontein
20:30 France vs Mexico, Polokwane
By Theresa Mallinson
Photo: A man in a fan zone watches the 2010 World Cup match between South Africa and Uruguay in Johannesburg June 16, 2010. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz