Quarter finalists engage in battle of the clichés; World Cup attendance could surpass 3 million; Mexican football coach resigns; Jabulani juggler sets world record; The sweet sounds of vuvuzela justice in store for Tony Hayward.
With the first two quarter-final knockouts on Friday, the coaches and players of the four countries involved had another battle to fight before they took to the field: Who could come up with the most boring sporting clichés. Dutch captain Giovanni van Bronckhurst said: “The game against Brazil is a big game, but we are confident and we will go out on the pitch tomorrow to win.” Well, unless you’re French, you don’t exactly aim to lose, do you? Meanwhile, Kaka and Luis Fabiano have spoken about their professional relationship, with Fabiano saying: “We have a perfect connection. We understand each other.” Sounds slightly more “Twilight” than soccer, but if it helps them score goals, who cares. In revelations concerning the Ghana-Uruguay fixture, Uruguayan coach Oscar Tabárez conceded: “If we want to get to the semi-final, we will need to score goals.” Good to know he understands the basics of the game. And Uruguay had better watch out, because Ghana’s coach Milovan Rajevac is employing a breathtaking new strategy of taking things “one match at a time”.
Attendance at the 2010 World Cup could exceed the 3 million mark, according to Local Organising Committee chief Danny Jordaan. Already, 2.69 million people have watched a paid-for live game, notwithstanding the fact that huge blocks of empty seats have been visible at many matches. Considering that all the games to come are expected to be sold out, 3 million is not an unrealistic forecast. The last time more than 3 million fans caught a live game was in 1994. “I reckon there is a big possibility we will do it (break 3 million) for the first time since the 1994 event in the US,” he said.
Mexican soccer coach Javier Aguirre resigned on Thursday, in the wake of his team’s World Cup exit. “I have to leave, it’s the most honest thing to do,” Aguirre said. Mexico progressed to the second round, but were then knocked out when Argentina beat them 3-1. Aguirre’s sentiments about honesty are noble indeed, especially considering his team’s ill fortune in their second-round match. Carlos Tevez scored the first goal of the match for Argentina from a blatantly offside position, and the Mexican players’ pleas to the referee fell on deaf ears. Mexico will now be scouting around for their sixth coach in four years.
Erick “The Dominator” Hernandez, a Cuban ex-soccer player, claims to have set a new world record for juggling the Jabulani ball, from a sitting position. He kept the ball in the air for three hours, three minutes and 14 seconds. If verified, it won’t be Hernandez’s first appearance in the Guinness Book of World Record – he’s already in its pages for heading the ball 319 times in one minute. Unlike the players in the 2010 World Cup, Hernandez has no complaints about the Jabulani. He says the ball has “a good bounce” and is “very lively”.
Film producer Adam Quirk has come up with a well, quirky, plan to keep the globe abuzz about BP’s misdemeanours. He’s put out a call on website kickstarter.com for donations to send 100 vuvuzela players to London, to play in a full-day vuvuzela concert outside BP’s headquarters. Quirk has already garnered the funds needed to buy the vuvuzelas, and is now calling for volunteers to play the instruments. As if BP chief executive Tony Hayward didn’t have enough headaches already.
Quarter finals on Friday
16:00 Netherlands vs Brazil, Port Elizabeth
20:30 Uruguay vs Ghana, Johannesburg (Soccer City)
By Theresa Mallinson