Way To Go, Bobby: Bafana Gone

South Africa is now out–thanks in large part to a penalty-granted foul that you’d have to measure by microns–and you’ve gotten the silencing of your hated vuvus! I hope you’re happy, sir!

More seriously, nice match Uruguay–refereeing incontinence notwithstanding, a victory well deserved. You wonder where this side was against France. …

At last, the Cup’s first real upset

No, the U.S. drawing against England doesn’t really count.

Kudos to the Swiss for beating La Furia Roja. The tournament needed that. And arguably, so did Spain. In the run-up to the Cup, its players and coach spent too much time protesting, disingenuously, that they were not the favorites. That struck me as the wrong tone: it suggested …

Cheering For North Korea: Weird, But Fun

Okay, let’s get one thing clear: no one likes horrible totalitarian dictatorial regimes that brutalize their populations, starve their people through incompetent and willfully destructive leadership, and spent most of their time threatening war on the outside world while trying to develop nuclear arms to use should those conflicts …

Not Exactly Having a Ball

One can but hope that the 2010 World Cup won’t just be remembered for the quite frankly ridiculous fuss over the vuvuzelas — to which the only sane response is, “you don’t like ’em? Host every World Cup in Europe then” — and the Jabulani ball. Neither controversy is dying down.

Post-‘Samba’ Brazil More Likely to Win than to Entertain

Brazil, in dispatching North Korea 2-1 on Tuesday, made clear that we should not expect to see “samba soccer” at World Cup 2010 — and not only because the players couldn’t possibly hear their fans’ traditional rhythm section above the drone of the vuvuzelas. Dunga’s team may have some supremely gifted players — none more so, on the …

South Africa can have its vuvuzelas… as long as it promsies to keep them!

A friend in London reports that the infernal horn has found its way to British supermarkets, where it’s selling like the proverbial hotcakes at two pounds a pop. This raises the dreadful possibility that the vuvuzela will become South Africa’s export to the rest of the soccer world. That’s what happened to the Mexican wave, remember?

If …

Kaiserslaughtering: Is Beckenbauer Right About England?

Once upon a time, criticism of English football by the enemy (well, one of a fair few enemies) would have caused consternation. “How dare they take us to task?” would have gone the cry. But in light of German legend Franz Beckenbauer’s less than kind comments, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone to raise an eyebrow, let alone get upset.

Winter Blasts the World Cup

After four pleasant days in the mid 60˚s F, winter arrived in Joburg today. Temperatures dropped like a rock overnight, plunging into the high 30˚s F around noontime, with the wind whipping at 20 mph and gusting to 35 mph. It was 37 ˚ two hours before the Brazil-North Korea match. So much for that mild South African winter we were …

What the World Cup Means to the Burmese

The questions began practically the moment I stepped foot in Burma. Intense curiosity about the rest of the world is a given in a place where a repressive junta and international sanctions have isolated the local populace. But these weren’t the normal queries about democracy or human rights.

Yaya Toure Makes the Ivoirians Contenders

The media’s narrative frames for World Cup showdowns usually pit one side’s star goal-scorer against the other: Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Didier Drogba, and so on. But the most important player on the field on Tuesday was Cote D’Ivoire’s Yaya Toure, the imperious midfield general who repeatedly won the ball for his side, dictated the play …

Live Blog: Ivory Coast vs. Portugal

The hopes of a nation can now rest on a protective cast. The Ivory Coast’s — and TIME 100 cover star — Didier Drogba has been given special clearance by FIFA to wear it on his broken right arm for his side’s group game against Portugal. Reason enough to live blog this massive match!

Forget the Noise; South Africa’s a Success

Blame it on the vuvuzelas. The noise level of these plastic horns in the stadiums—think about attending a game in which every fan is operating a leaf blower— became the first big story of the tournament. The horns have been criticized by players, fans and some officials, leading Danny Jordaan, the boss of the games, to consider …

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