The Games They Have Begun!


Let the games  begin

Let the games begin South Africa’s Teko Modise (left) and Mexico’s Gerardo Torrado compete for the ball during the opening World Cup match at Soccer City in Johannesburg on Friday. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

It is unusual for Americans to be thinking about anything not American, especially in sports.  But today, in almost every city in the country, there is a place to go and watch the World Cup play out in South Africa.  Tomorrows match involves the US and is certain to get the most attention.  Today, in grand fashion the home team South Africa played the first match of the tournament against Mexico – it ended in a draw, 1-1.  Draws are not common in American sport, but in the world of international football they are common.  South Africa is celebrating, celebrating the match, the pageantry of the World Cup and celebrating hosting the world.  The best place to get a flavor for the pageantry is online, all of the major international news websites have great pictures and a moving video of Shakira’s Waka Waka – the official theme.

You can easily find a place to make a wager – online, unfortunately or fortunately depending on your point of view it is illegal in the United States –  however, bookies around the world are taking bets on a game, any game, or the finals; in Hong Kong they have posted odds on the two teams that will appear in the final.  It is expected to be largest wagering event in history and bookies, especially in England have a lot on the line, as it were.

However in Thailand and Malaysia the police are organizing to stop the betting, so are the Chinese.  Maybe the most interesting of the early stories comes from North Korea, it is about the only country in the world where the World Cup is not broadcast live; in North Korea the government has to approve the result before the (presumably that only applies to the games in which North Korea plays) game can be broadcast.  If North Korea loses a game the game may never be broadcast there.

Oh well, for the American fans and the English fans, tomorrow is the game that counts -England v USA; the Guardian estimates at least 10,000 English fans will be on hand, a far cry from the 100,000 that went to Germany to see their team play, but travel to this year’s tournament is a wee bit more complicated and expensive.  No word on the number of Americans attending; I only know one, but he is really a South African who lives here and is going home for his summer holidays and some sport. If you have no idea what the World Cup looks like, watch Harry Potter (Deathly Hallows)- the movie has the Quidditch World Cup – it looks about the same to me.  I was in England in the 1960s when England played Germany – the streets were just about as safe or unsafe depending on which country you supported as the aftermath of the Quidditch games with the death-eaters converging on the unsuspecting fans.

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1 Response to “The Games They Have Begun!”


  1. 1 gcol June 11, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    What about the world cup? Any bets?


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