Photoblog by a proud citizen of planet earth

Posts tagged “Soccer City

Showcase venue

The showcase venue of the 2010 FIFA world cup held in South Africa. This is soccer city which was in Johannesburg and this is the very same venue that held the world cup final only a few days later between Spain & the Netherlands. Luckily for us we saw both teams during that world cup and in this particular match it was me crossing off an item of my bucket list: watching Brazil in the world cup! It was Brazil against the Ivory Coast which Brazil won by 3-1 in emphatic fashion, couldn’t have asked for a better experience 🙂


A Day to remember!

A Day to remember!

A year ago today was one the happiest days of my life, since watching the 1986 world cup I’ve wanted to watch Brazil play in the world cup and that was finally going to be the day. Brazil was playing Ivory Coast, one of the African favorites in the tournaments, and a huge crowd was expected. Due to the game being a “big attraction”, security was really tight at soccer city this time! We couldn’t be dropped off at our usual spot just around the corner from the stadium but we had to arrange for a Park and Ride, which was the busses organized by FIFA to pick up fans from specified locations around the city. We got dropped off and everything was going pretty smoothly, the majority of the people were supporting Brazil but one of the interesting sights was this huge group of roughly 200 Ivorians all dressed in official Cotes d’Ivoire jackets (pictured below), the sight of them all walking around is a lot more intimidating than them scattered in the stadium 🙂

A Day to remember!

We got to the stadium and security was much tighter than usual, everyone was getting checked going everywhere, prior to this game you could pretty much go sit anywhere and as long as no one shows up to claim that seat than it was yours! My friends still managed to sneak in for one half so the close up shots are his. Going back to the game, by far the most crowded game we’ve been too and the loudest in terms of fans, my guess would be that it was 60/40 split in Brazil’s favor.

A Day to remember!

The game didn’t let the fans down, at least the Brazilians! They started out quickly on the attack and for the most part contained Ivory Coast. In the 25th minute with some neat quick passes between Kaka & Luis Fabiano with the later scoring from an acute angle to send the pro Brazilian crowd into a festive mood. Ivory Coast didn’t really get into the game until the last 7 or 8 minutes of the first half when they had their first shot on net. Brazil went into the dressing room protecting that one goal lead. The second half started the same way the first did but this time Brazil capitalized on a second goal five minutes into the half, Luis Fabiano had scored a spectacular individual goal were he lobs and controls the ball over several players before smashing the ball into the back of the Ivorian net. At this point, FIFA had banned replaying any controversial goals on the screens inside the stadium and for all we knew it was a legit goal because those were the replays we saw. Later on we found out that there were other angles that clearly show that he handled the ball before scoring the goal and that should not have counted.

A Day to remember!

Ivory Coast tried to get back into the game but unfortunately for them Brazil wasn’t about to let up anytime soon. In the 60th minute, Kaka crossed the ball into the path of a running Elano who only manages to deflect the ball into the back of the net for the third time for the Seleção. The game got aggressive and Ivory Coast was able to get one back with a Drogba header in the 79th minute. It was yellow card mayhem for the rest of the match, Kaka managed to get booked twice within 3 minutes and receive his marching orders by the 88th minute, the 2nd card in particular was controversial as it appeared that there was a lot of embellishment by Keita (a Barca player, no surprise?!?!) Anyway the red card didn’t hurt that much because Brazil had already clinched a birth in the next round and only needed a tie to win the group over Portugal.

A Day to remember!

A Day to remember!

The ride back home was quite interesting! It took us quite sometime to get on a bus and get back to our park and ride station. We waited and waited and waited and waited for our taxi to show up after him confirming time after time that he is only 10 minutes away but to no avail, he never showed up. We were forced to pick a taxi from the street who wasn’t familiar with our area very much, he ended up taking us through downtown Johannesburg around midnight and let me tell you that its quite a scene. Its a complete ghost town, very seldom can you spot someone and if you do, you don’t generally get the “safe” feeling. We managed to get home safely and it was quite an experience. A day that I will always remember…..

Heir to the crown

Messi gets blocked

June 17, 2010 was marked on our calendars for a while by now, it was the day that we were going to watch Argentina play South Korea. Out of the 4 of us, no one was a real Argentina fan but it was the day we were going to see Messi live in action. I’m a die hard Brazil & Real Madrid fan, no compromising on either. Messi being an Argentine that plays for Barcelona makes him public enemy number one in my books, but putting all my biased aside, the man is a footballing genius, it is a treat to watch him do his thing. What made this day extra special is that not only do we get to watch arguably the best player of his generation but we also get to see the legend: Maradona. Maradona was the national team’s coach for the world cup so it was very interesting to see the most loved man in Argentina with whom many claim to be his heir to the crown.

OK back to the game, so coming into the match you know there are 2 people that everyone is here to see: Messi & Maradona. Its a reoccurring theme that you can not avoid to notice. The picture below was Maradona’s first steps onto the field, he came on with his track suit to inspect the pitch and check up on his team. I don’t know if its just me, but it almost looked as if he was reliving his glory days of the past, his held was held high he kept on looking at the stands as if to say: “Back in my days, I used to own all of this, they use to stand and applaud me”. Its probably just me but it was quite something to see the man that dominated the 1986 World cup in person, truth be told is that no one player has dominated a single tournament the way Maradona did in 1986. That same player that we watched as children some 24 years ago was now walking the field in front of me. Life is funny that way.

Maradona watching the warm ups

Oh yeah back to the match…. Messi was a genius, he put on a show that we enjoyed very much. No player moves with the ball like him, nobody cuts and zips through other players like him, you always think to yourself, that short guy is really good. That short guy is #10, Señor Messi!! Argentina had control of the match right from the get go and they were up 2-0 by the 33rd minute, an own goal in the 17th minute with a goal fro Higuain. The game looked sealed for the Argentinian team and they let their guard down, the intensity stepped slightly down and in extra time Korea managed to get a scrappy goal and make it 2-1 at Half time. We have a game.

At half time, it appears that Maradona gave a really inspirational speech. The team came out blazing and completely ran wild over the South Koreans, Argentina scored 2 more goals by Higuain to finish off with a hat rick! BTW, Higuain plays for Real Madrid so seeing him bag 3 was quite a pleasant treat for me, enjoyed it very much.

Higuain chance

Final Score was 4-1 but the match could’ve easily ended up as 5-1 or 6-1. Messi & Aguerro missed some really clear cut chances. The Albesciete (Argentinian football team) faithful left the stadium in a very cheerful mood, after that performance they were becoming one of the clear favorites of the tournament. They were ultimately eliminated at the quarterfinals by a masterful performance by the Germans.

Tevez attempts to shake off a defender

Messi preparing to take a corner

Teams coming on to the field



After our first night in Rustenburg, we stayed in Johannesburg the whole time we were attending the games. This is a picture of Johannesburg’s skyline from Soccer City and below is a sign on the way to the stadium.


Sea of Oranje!

Dutch National Anthem

June 14, 2010 was our 2nd match day, one thing for sure it was a sea of Oranje (Dutch national team) jerseys. Its quite something to see the Dutch play, they completely dominate the stadium with their bright orange shirts. We had seats in the upper deck and it was shaded, which generally is a good thing but when its winter in Africa, you really want to sit under the sun. The last 20 minutes of the game were not enjoyable at all, I kept on wishing that the game would end. In a way it was an indicator of the how the game was, it was either this one or the USA vs England that was our most boring match! Luckily they were the first two, so it was all uphill from here on. Oh the game was between Holland and Denmark, Holland won 2-0, Agger scored an own goal in the 46th minute while trying to head the ball out with his head. Kuyt followed in the 85th minute with a tap in after the ball had hit the post. It was an ugly win but littler did we know that they would turn up in the later rounds until they lost the final to Spain.

Oranje Army!!

This was also our first Soccer City experience, it is quite a Stadium, world class in every way. Really loved everything about it specially earlier in the tournament. At this point security has not been that organized and you could easily pass a lot of “off-limits” streets. Our driver, Derek, managed to get us pretty much up to the gate which was quite a treat, later on it became a hassle!

Dutch Fans

Danish Fan

Dejected Danish fans

Festive Dutch Fans



The 2010 World cup will probably go down as one of the coldest world cups ever! When the sun went down, we had to be ready for some serious cold weather, slightly above freezing, after all it was winter in the southern hemisphere. This particular image was taken from my favorite game that we attended: Brazil vs Ivory Coast. Brazil naturally attracts a huge crowd but facing an African nation in Africa only added to the build up to the match. Being soccer, of course there was some controversy in the game that Brazil won 3-1. More to come on the anniversary of match day…