Our 7th match of the world cup was Slovakia vs Italy, another group that was wide open but unlike yesterday’s (a year ago) matches it was a bit more complicated. Paraguay was in the driver seat only needing a tie to secure qualification, all other teams was pretty much win and you are through. The Italians being a typical favorite in every world cup just needed a win against Slovakia and not many were expecting a surprise today, as neutrals we just wanted to see a lot excitement.
Today’s match was one of the strangest in terms of fan base, there were a lot of fans supporting Italy that day; I would go as far as 80/20. However the 80 percent were probably 80/20 fugazy! Fugazy is an Italian-American slang word for fake, the reason I say that is when the Slovak players came on to the field to warm up they all started to cheer them thinking they were the Italians since they had blue training suits on!!! I grabbed my camera to zoom in and see what was going on and I was right, it was the Slovaks! The funniest was when the announcer was late and said welcome to the field: Slovakia and the cheers changed to jeers when they realized it wasn’t Italy.
Shortly after Italy came on, also with their blue training suits on 🙂
Don’t remember too much of the details of the game, for the most part it was a match played in midfield with the odd periods of excitement. Slovakia was up 1-0 at half-time and then when the news kept on coming in that Paraguay & New Zealand were tied at 0-0 the pressure increased. As the Italians stepped up their attack Slovakia ended up hitting them with another goal and they were up 2-0! A shocker was in the making, but without a lot of drama. The last 10 minutes were absolutely insane, Italy made it 2-1 in the 81st minute and then Slovakia scored to make in 3-1 in the 89th only for Italy to score a conciliation goal in stoppage time. The game ended 3-2 and Italy were out! Paraguay topped the group with Slovakia in 2nd place, and Italy exited the tournament bottom of the group. The Azzuri is going through a transitional phase and I’m sure they’ll be back with new blood in future world cups…
So this month, I will try to share at least one image per day from my trip to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Even though the trip was primarily to watch the world cup, me & my younger brother managed to arrange for a safari a week prior to the games kicking off. So not everything this month will be soccer, but most of it will be.
June 2, 2010 is when my trip began. I initially had to travel to Toronto, spend 2 nights and then head out to South Africa with my brother. On that very day, I know I was excited about going but at the same time very nervous about what awaits us in South Africa. Sadly the media has been on a vicious campaign to plant fear in all fans travelling to the games, I mean you could buy stab proof vests, thats how ridiculous it got!
The particular image above was taken on June 17, 2010. It was Argentina vs South Korea and Argentina had just won the game 4-1. There is just something about being at the games and amongst the fans that no words can describe, and just as personal remark: South American fans were the most fun, they dance and sing all game long and just make it into such a festive atmosphere.
From the same game, this guy stood out from very far, very hard not to notice him 🙂 He actually was sitting behind us during the Spain vs Honduras game (what are the chances??) and we ended up talking to him. If my memory serves me correctly he’s from Finland and runs some kind of business/website that sells jerseys.