So, the fun has now begun in South Africa. The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicked off on Friday with the hosts playing out a 1-1 draw with Mexico. 32 nations will be competing to be crowned World Champions on July 11th in Johannesburg.
The first round of the competition is played in 8 groups of 4 teams, with each team playing the others in their group once. The top two teams of each group will then progress to the knock-out stages of the tournament, which is when the excitement really kicks in!
England began their campaign on Saturday when they played against the USA. This could have meant for a very interesting evening in the Yellow House if Dori hadn’t been on the other side of the pond right now! :-) But, as she wasn’t here, I convinced Trevor to join me in cheering on the England team. After a very competitive match (and one goalkeeping howler) the match ended at 1-1, with honours even. Having subsequently seen the other two teams in the same group I would imagine that both England and the US team should have little trouble in qualifying for the 2nd round.
No team has shone out yet, though there are still 10 more teams yet to play as I write these notes. Tomorrow will see the first game for Brazil, who are the perennial favourites when the World Cup rolls around, and then Wednesday will mark the first game for Spain who are a lot of people’s tips to win it this time. Spain are currently the European Champions, and will certainly be a very big obstacle for the other teams to negotiate.
But, the beauty of sport is that nobody really knows what will happen. There will be favourites and underdogs, but there will also be upsets and surprises and a few broken hearts along the way. As an England fan I am well aware of how crushing an exit in the latter stages of the competition can be, and how hopes can turn into despair in a matter of seconds. But that, of course, is exactly why so many people love the game.
Now gotta go – I’ve got the Japan v Cameroon game to watch!