Soccer, Sports, World Cup 2010

Where There’s A Will There’s A Way ………..


The qualifying process is winding down as to the 2010 World Cup , which will be held in South Africa. It is only the second major international sporting event to be held in the country since the removal of apartheid .

Former South African President  ,  Nelson  Mandela  ,  not only  a  supreme  humanitarian  but also  an  avid  sports  fan.  Mandela    alongside  his  successor   Thabo  Mbeki    fought  long   and  hard  to  bring  the   World  Cup   to  South  Africa . Despite   at  times   there  being  prominent  opposition  from  a  number  of   soccer  bureaucrats  across  the  globe.     picture  appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Marcus  Nash  .......................
Former South African President , Nelson Mandela , not only a supreme humanitarian but also an avid sports fan. Mandela alongside his successor Thabo Mbeki fought long and hard to bring the World Cup to South Africa . Despite at times there being prominent opposition from a number of soccer bureaucrats across the globe. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Marcus Nash .......................

And for the country’s former president, Nelson Mandela. This is something that he and many of the country’s politicians have fought long and hard for , in bringing such a prestigious sporting event to the country. The World Cup , alongside the Summer Olympics are the most eagerly watched and anticipated sporting events in the world. A quadrennial event that’s anticipated and will be watched by in excess of 1 1/2 billion people across the globe , once the event gets under way. And for those qualifying nations it does bring a sense of pride for the players, as well as its citizenry. The event itself, is seen as fostering a sense of competition as well as sportsmanship among the participants. But above all , it’s an extraordinary way of getting athletes together to meet on the field of competition at the international level. Something that’s not often seen with regards to any of the major sports within North America. Granted ,the NHL does have the Stanley Cup and there’s also the international governing body’s very own international competition , with its own version of the World Cup. But bearing that in mind in terms of its importance on the international stage , it pales in comparison to soccer’s World Cup.

Soccer  city   in  Johannesburg,  South  Africa.  One of   thirteen  venues  that'll  be   used  to  host   the  games  of the  2010  World  Cup  being  held  in  South  Africa  ,  next  June.    picture  appears  courtesy of   getty  images/   ....................
Soccer city in Johannesburg, South Africa. One of thirteen venues that'll be used to host the games of the 2010 World Cup being held in South Africa , next June. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ ....................

The NBA, for its part and MLB , despite their popularity haven’t fully caught the public’s imagination at the international level the way soccer has. But they are slowly getting there. Albeit, that if anything baseball has fallen by the wayside in terms of Olympic recognition. But the World Baseball Classic for all of its pecularities and the ill-conceived notions of MLB and the sport’s international governing body has done. It hasn’t caught the imagination of the fans globally. Especially when based on viewership of the event domestically and on the global level.

The NBA despite its immense popularity globally-goes out of its way to market its stars individually, rather than their teams. And even with the popularity of its stars at the Olympics and Team USA’s winning of the gold medal in Beijing. It primarily came down to more a marketing of the game’s stars, rather than foistering the popularity of the game and further broaden its base and appeal. And you’d be hard pressed to name but a handful of international players on any of the teams that participated in the games other than those we already know playing in the NBA.

 Nelson Mandela  Stadium  in  Port  Elizabeth ,  South Africa  .   picture  appears  courtesy of  afp/photo/  Pieter   Houizehenhaus  ............................
Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth , South Africa . picture appears courtesy of afp/photo/ Pieter Houizehenhaus ............................

As the host nation, South Africa is an automatic qualifier for next year’s event. And while the fans there are eagerly awaiting the event’s kick-off. The team itself has already began its preparations by hosting a pre World Cup tournament , as well several friendlies against international competition. There is expected to be the usual plethora of teams that are hoping to make their presence felt once the competition gets under way. Brazil as expected are the presumptive favorites for the competition. And as a five time winner of the Jules Rimet trophy (World Cup), they are expected to raise it again, for an unprecedented sixth time. Which would be a record amongst World Cup winners.

Ricardo  Clark  of  the  US  celebrates  after  scoring the  team's   lone  goal  to  secure  a  1-0 victory  over  Trinidad  & Tobago  ,  in  Port  of Spain ,  Trinidad.    picture appears  courtesy  of   ap/photo/ Fernando  Llana   ..............................
Ricardo Clark of the US celebrates after scoring the team's lone goal to secure a 1-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago , in Port of Spain , Trinidad. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Fernando Llana ..............................

The aspirations of the US soccer team cannot be understated, as they seek respectability amongst the game’s international elite. Qualifying for the event in South Africa would do a great deal to raise the profile of US soccer , domestically , as well as abroad. And with the growing confidence of many of their younger stars , such as Jozy Altidore , Ricardo Clark and the veteran experience of such players as Tim Howard , Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan. It is hoped that the team will, fare well , in the event next year. It has a clear goal , and that’s at least to reach the latter stages of the event. Anything short of that , would be considered a failure .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and AP :

US moves to the verge of 6th straight World Cup berth

Port of Spain-Trinidad and Tobago-(AP)

Just one more win will give the US its sixth straight World Cup berth.

Ricardo Clark scored in the 62nd minute, and the United States beat Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 Wednesday night to move into first place in World Cup qualifying.

“It’s huge. It’s huge. It gives us a little bit of space when things are getting tight in our group.” Clark said. ” We knew we had to come out in this game and get a win.”

The United States failed to win its first three road qualifiers this year and played a listless first half. The Americans went ahead when Clint Dempsey played the ball wide to Landon Donovan, who cut the ball back to Clark.

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Those teams that’ve already qualified can now set about looking at what may well lie ahead for them. Inasmuch, as the tournament may well seem a long way off. Many of the players are still within the midst of their respective domestic competitive calendars. And any type of a serious injury could very well place their dreams in jeopardy. Coaches and players asides, the fans globally will be cheering on their teams with a great deal of patriotism. Needless to say the more vocal amongst us will most certainly let our voices be heard.

The event itself begins on the 11th June with the preliminary rounds. And ends with the finals being played on the 11th of July. The 32 participants that will be in the tournament , all have aspirations making it to the finals. But as we all know only two can ever make it there. And as of September 10th , there are eleven known qualifiers for the tournament. In no discerning order they are, South Africa as hosts, Japan, Korea (Rep), Netherlands, Korea DPR, Brazil , Ghana , England , Spain and Paraguay.

As an avid soccer fan , albeit that I now reside in the United States and being English by birth. I , for one am hoping that the best and brightest that the soccer world has to offer can exhibit their profound skills with grace. And show the fans across the globe why it is this is the most beloved of all sports, not just in terms of the passion shown, but also when it comes to its popularity and participants worldwide at every level.

And for the people of South Africa and their government . I wish them well in their endeavor of hosting the event. Those who doubted that they could pull this off. Well they can only but witness the passion , grace and hospitality shown when the country hosted the CONCACAF Federations Tournament earlier this year. Hosted in South Africa , the event proved to be an immense success and as a precursor of things to come next year. The nation of South Africa proved to be courteous , graceful and wonderful hosts to all of the participants. When one considers what the country has undergone under previous regimes , prior to Mandela’s ascent to power as President. The changes during and after his reign makes this more than a welcoming sight for a country on the African continent to be hosting such a prestigious event.

* List of teams that’ve qualified for the World Cup as of the 10th September 2009 Click here ………..

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8 thoughts on “Where There’s A Will There’s A Way ………..

  1. The World Cup has been front and center on the world stage since its inception in 1930. This is where futebol teams and players are made and broken. Pele in 1958 was 18 years old and he scored three goals in the semi-finals and two in the finals. A legend is born. I for one am looking forward to this one. The USA is good in North America zone. Our showing in the Confederations Cup was a fluke. The USA did well in their final three matches but they way they are playing now is a lot to be desired. The “D” is sieve. The only saving grace is Tim Howard. Donovan is a total waste of time. Englnad has a very good team. Italy will have a hard time repeat. Germany will not make it out of the group stage. Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal side will not make it. He is a total waste when it comes to nut cutting time. Brasil has the edge but the World Cup is still a long way off.

    1. Bobbygee

      For me , I’m just glad the continent has finally getting the recognition it so richly deserves. Better yet there could be one or two surprises coming out of this World Cup.

      As to the favorites, I feel that if Brazil isn’t too complacent then the tournament is theirs for the taking. But the likes of Spain , Italy or some lesser European light could prove to be too much. But we’ll just have to wait and see.

      As to the US’s fortunes that’ll be built around the leadership qualities of their veterans and how they acquit themselves. I for one am hoping the likes of Altidore , Clark and Howard all do well.

      The real disappointment for me is the very fact that despite all of the hype surrounding Freddy Adu. This kid has proven to me that he’s just not been good enough at either level, domestically or internationally.

      Alan Parkins

    1. Chris Humpherys

      I think that success in the eyes of many will be whether or not the US team can make it out of the first round of the competition. Anything beyond that would have to be deemed a reasonable success.

      Each of the thirteen venues in question are state of the art built venues. And I’m sure that once the tournament is under way all those stadiums will be filled to capacity.

      Alan Parkins

  2. Great and insightful blog – so who do you think will win the World Cup?! I have my predictions but as always, there are always upsets!

    Not sure how much you watch the Primera Liga in Spain but wrote a new blog on it should you be intested in reading which you can access here: http://vaishalibhardwaj.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/barcelona-draw-at-el-madrigal-and-real-madrid-miss-the-chance-to-go-top-of-la-liga/

    Keep up the good work in any case!

    1. Vaishali

      It’s early days yet and so many teams are still in their domestic season. We won’t know what the makeup of their national squads will be . So in essence it’s just best to bide one’s time for the moment. Injuries will be something of a prevailing factor in all of this.

      No doubt however that the likes of Ladbrokes and other betting establishments have started to induce bettors with some pretty outrageous odds .

      Alan Parkins

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