The home team may be out but the Vuvuzela’s are still as loud and annoying as ever! Despite their victory over France, the South African soccer team, Bafana Bafana, will not advance to the second round of the World Cup. This marks the first time in the history of the World Cup that the home team did not advance.
The local people of Johannesburg are not surprisingly disappointed in this but there is still a great party to be had here. As I write this from my office above Nelson Mandela Square I can hear multiple Vuvezela’s blowing as well as the now familiar anthem to this tournament, Shakira’s “Waka Waka.” But why shouldn’t there still be celebration? There is still so much amazing soccer/football; however you call it, left. On Friday one of the tournament’s most anticipated matches take place when international powerhouses Brazil and Portugal collide.
The tournament has had some definite ups and downs but as of this point, has to be considered a success. I had a very interesting trip to Rustenburg to watch the USA vs. England game. Jeremiah and I arrived at the park and ride a few hours before the game. We arrived to find a few thousand people tailgating like it was a Georgia vs. Florida football game! There were many colorful and costumed fans along with beer and barbecue.
Our seats for the game were front row of the middle level. Just about as perfect of a spot as you can get for watching the game. When we got there some fans of Mexico where sitting in them. Thinking they were their seats, they had already tied up a Mexican flag to hang over the side. Yes, it was England vs. USA but this is the World Cup, you have to support your team at all times! So they moved over and now we were sitting right by the only Mexican flag in the stadium.
The woman next to me got a great text from her friend back in the States where the game was showing live on ESPN. It said, “They just scanned the crowd. Are you sitting next to a Mexican Flag!!!???” The game was a great experience and I will take a draw vs. England any day.
The ride home was where things got very interesting. The busses back to the park and ride were not labeled at all. I got on one and asked the driver “Is this the bus back to lot R104?” Of course he looked at me and gave me an emphatic “YES!” After running over a fence (I kid you not!) he proceeded to drive to the North lot. So now we were completely in the wrong lot on the wrong side of the stadium. It would have taken at least 3 hours to get back to the stadium and then get back to the proper lot. I called the guy who was supposed to drive us back to Johannesburg and told him to go on without me.
We then essentially begged our way onto a tour bus back to Johannesburg. Only problem was that the bus was full. No problem, we’ll sit on the floor! After a few hours on the bus we stopped for some food. I was hungry and my poor backside was not taking to the floor very kindly. Solution: Buns for my stomach and buns for my buns! After scarfing down a pretty decent cheeseburger from Steers I bought a package of hot dog buns to sit on the rest of the way. A funny sight for sure but a mild relief too! After a lot of traffic we finally arrived home at 5am! I have never been so happy to climb into bed.
There is still time to create your own World Cup experiences. Over 2 weeks still remain before you have to wait until Brazil 2014. TicketCity has tickets for all matches including the Final on July 11th.