French players go on strike; Stallion Security says it will sue the LOC; Paraguay trounce Slovakia 2-0; New Zealand stun Italy in a 1-1 draw; Brazil outclass Ivory Coast 3-1; Will we get to hear the honking of the giant vuvuzela?
Security staff and bus drivers are among those to have gone on strike this World Cup. Now the French football team has joined them. The players refused to train on Sunday, in protest against the expulsion of Nicolas Anelka, who was sent home on Saturday after swearing at coach Raymond Domenech and refusing to apologise. The players were also upset about the existence of a “traitor” in their camp – someone who had leaked the details of Anelka’s temper tantrum to the press. France’s team director Jean-Louis Valentin was disgusted at the players’ behaviour, and resigned on the spot. “It’s a scandal for the French people, for the youngsters who came here to watch them train,” he said. “I’m resigning… I have nothing more to do here. I’m going back to Paris.” France may have been low on wins this tournament, but they’ve sure been high on drama.
Never mind the soccer fans it was supposed to protect, Stallion Security is now saying it will sue the Local Organising Committee over its lost contract to provide security at four World Cup stadiums. Stallion faced revolt by its employees last week, as security guards went on strike over a wage dispute. As a result, Soccer City, Ellis Park, Moses Mabhida, and Green Point stadiums are all being secured by the police. A similar situation occurred shortly before the Confederations Cup last year, with Stallion pulling out of its contract shortly before the tournament began over a financial disagreement, and the police taking over security duties. Fifa and the Local Organising Committee are ultimately responsible for security at the stadiums, but spokesman Rich Mkhondo refused to comment on the issue, saying: “I will not answer questions about stadium security. Ask somebody else.” We just hope that all the soccer fans are safe.
Paraguay trounced Slovakia 2-0 in Bloemfontein. So far in this tournament it’s the South American teams that have made fans and pundits take notice, and Paraguay’s performance on Sunday was no exception. Slovakia never stood a chance, managing only one shot on goal the entire game. Paraguay haven’t quite qualified for the second round, yet, but it’s pretty much a given that they will do so. They face New Zealand in their last group match, but even the braveheart Kiwis probably won’t be able to take them down.
New Zealand continued their astounding run this World Cup, with a 1-1 draw against Italy. After an early goal by New Zealand, the Azzurri equalised from a penalty not long afterwards. The Italians spent the rest of the match trying really, really hard to take the lead, but were ultimately thwarted, in no small part to the superb efforts of goalkeeper Mark Paston. The All Whites are now in with a chance, albeit a slim one, of making it to the second round. We wonder what the odds were on that before the tournament started?
Brazil booked their place in the second round with a 3-1 victory of the Ivory Coast. The South Americans completely outclassed the Africans, although the Elephants can take some comfort from being the first African side to score against Brazil (the striker, of course, Didier Drogba). The first half of the match didn’t see much action, apart from Luis Fabiano’s goal, but the second half was played at a faster pace. Fabiano’s second goal involved not one, but two hand balls, although the reality is the Brazilians would’ve won anyway. In general, South American sides are having a fantastic World Cup; African teams, not so much.
You think a normal-sized vuvuzela is noisy? If so, you’ll be relieved to know that the creators of the giant vuvuzela in Cape Town are having difficulty in gaining permission to give it even one gigantic blast. Hyundai, which built the vuvuzela at the end of the unfinished flyover, says it is in talks with the Cape Town City Council about being allowed to honk the 37m instrument later in the tournament, but the authorities are wary of the deafening sound causing traffic chaos. We’re all for “gees” (and don’t live in Cape Town) so we say the giant vuvu should be allowed its voice. PARP!
13:30 Portugal vs North Korea, Cape Town
16:00 Chile vs Switzerland, Port Elizabeth
20:30 Spain vs Honduras, Ellis Park
By Theresa Mallinson
Photo by Axel Bührmann.