Yes, rejoice. It's the World Cup and it's in Africa. You can't say fairer than that.
Even the opening ceremony was a delight. Next up is the inaugural match, and that too promises to be fun. These look like two quite evenly matched teams, in the tournament's most balanced group, from which any pair could progress. The Bafana Bafana are under pressure to avoid becoming the worst hosts since Vernon Kaye, and they are in fine fettle: unbeaten in 12 matches, lead by a richly experienced manager, they boast a squad of players of great dynamism and impeccable technique. They lack height (with the obvious exception of Mark Booooooooooooooth, but he's a sub) and a consistent goal-getter and, therefore, bear a striking resemblance to Mexico, who lack height and a consistent goal-getter but have impeccable technique, great dynamism and, perhaps decisively, lightning speed and five players who have already been world champions, having won the U-17 World Cup in 2005. OK, one of them is Carlos Vela …. but come on, he's too young to be written off just yet.
A question for any Zulu speakers who may have nothing better to do right now than follow this here commentary: given that Bafana Bafana translates as The Boys (or so were are constantly told), am I wrong to deduce that nouns are pluralised in Zulu by repeating them? So if, for example, the Zulu word for rhinoceros were, um, Nigel, would rhinoceroses be Nigel Nigel? For what it's worth, this method makes me happy.
A question for any English speakers who may have nothing better to do right now than follow this here commentary: is rhinoceroses the correct pluralisation of rhinoceros? Might it be rhinoceri? Would it be wiser to just say rhinos?
South Africa: Khune, Gaxa, Mokoena, Khumalo, Thwala,
Tshabalala, Dikgacoi, Letsholonyane, Modise, Pienaar, Mphela.
Subs: Josephs, Masilela, Ngcongca, Sibaya, Davids, Booth, Parker, Nomvethe, Moriri, Sangweni, Walters, Khuboni.
Mexico: Perez, Aguilar, Rodriguez, Osorio, Salcido, Torrado, Marquez, Juarez, Giovani, Franco, Vela.
Subs: Ochoa, Barrera, Castro, Blanco, Hernandez, Moreno, Guardado, Magallon, Torres, Bautista, Medina, Michel.
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan)
2:31pm: "My Zulu is no good but I can confirm that in Malay they pluralise as you suggest," bugles Helen O'Connor. "Kanak = child, kanak kanak = children." Thank thank, Helen.
2:33pm: To tumultuous acclaim, and the mighty buzz of tens of thousands of vuvuzelas, the Bafana Bafana dance on to the pitch for their warm-up. That is a quite magnificent entrance. Hat hat off.
2:35pm: You will note that Mexican manager Javier Aguirre has decided to omit Manchester United's new recruit Javier Hernandez in favour of sometime-West Ham striker Guillermo Franco. That is a pity for United fans hoping to have a gander at their new player, and those of us who know his nickname is 'The Pea' and were hoping to make a lame pun involving 'shooter'.
2:37pm: "You're quite right, it's rhinoceroses," approves Dan Pocock. "The plural of hippopotamus is hippopotami, because it's a Latin word ending in -us. Singular masculine words end in -us, plurals end in -i. Singular feminine words lifted straight from Latin end in -a, plurals in -ae. For example, minutia and minutiae. Singular neutral words end in -um, plurals in -a. For example, medium and media. Rhinoceros ends in -os so it has absolutely nothing to do with it. " So now you know. You may not care, but you know.
An expert speaks:: At least he sounds like an expert. "The Zulu singular for boy is Umfana," lectures Colin Darch. "Bafana is already a plural. The doubling of the word has no grammatical significance. I'm the only person in South Africa who is not in front of a television - I am at work till five - nobody else here. Talk about short straws."
And another thing, from Kat Petersen. "The language is called isiZulu, the people are Zulu."
Now that we've unburdened ourselves of some linguistic ignorance, let Adrian Cooper pose another question: "Is there any chance that the England team will dance onto the pitch tomorrow? And will Gerrard be allowed any say regarding the song to which they dance on, in order to avoid an unnecessary ruckus?"
2:49pm: The teams are primed and in the tunnel, bobbing up and down with adrenalin coursing through them and words spilling melodiously from their mouths: both teams are singing, see. It's a terrific atmosphere, and they haven't even reached the pitch yet. "I am so pleased I have started my World Cup with pedantry on the MBM," exults Kat Petersen. "It can only go well now. Come on Algeria, Paraguay and Japan! (Office
sweepstake gone wrong)." Consider yourself lucky - I got Slovakia.
2:51pm: Now the players are on the pitch .... they may well be still signing, but there's no chance of them being heard above the vuvuzelas. But hold on, here comes Sepp Blatter to say a few choice words ...
2:53pm: "Ladies and gentlemen, the World Cup is in Africa!" begins Sepp Blatter, patently a man who knows how to send vuvuzelas into overdrive.
2:54pm: Now President Zuma is speaking. So is someone called Marcus Cowper: "Re: the plural of hippopotamus, it's actually from the Ancient Greek for horse (hippus) and river (potamus), no idea about the plural but would have thought that hippopotamuses would be acceptable," drones Marcus.
2:55pm: "Oooh, good idea for England to dance on to the pitch," chirps Paul Bourdin. "I nominate a Madness 'House of Fun' tribute." Me, I'd recommend some KK Downing-Glenn Tipton-style to-and-fro rocking.
Did someone mention linguistic ignorance? Don't get Jon Shaw started. Too late. "I want to say that Kat Peterson is not correct," hollers Jon."In English (which purportedly is the language used in the MBM) isiZulu is called Zulu. isiZulu is the Zulu word for the language. The corollary would be French is what English speakers called the language the French people call francais. So, Zulu is the correct English word for the language Zulu speakers call isiZulu. This is true for countless African languages: Swahili is called Kiswahili in the Swahili language, for example. And .... go South Africa!"
National anthems: There is respectful silence from the South African crowd as the band run through the rather jaunty Mexican number. And now here comes the home hymn ...
2:59pm: Formalities performed, the players trot over to their approximate positions and limber up as they await kick-off. "No, this will not stand, this will not stand," fumes Richard Readshaw. "Both hippopotamus (horse of the river) and rhinoceros (nose of horn) come from greek and their plurals would end in 'oi', I think. In English the plural is '...es'. Anything else is hippokakos."
3pm: Now the Mexican team are locked in a huddle ... in the South African half. "Is that a little wind-up?" wonders ITV's Jim Beglin.
1 min: We have kick-off! Mexico take it and immediately begin circulating the ball at speed. They work their way up to the brink of the South African box before Khumalo stops their progress.
2 min: That was nearly the opening goal of the World Cup ... and it would have been a disaster for the home goalkeeper! He tried to intercept a cross but succeeded only in pushing it out to Giovani, who attempted to smash it into the net from eight yards. But Mokoena reacted quickly to deflect it behind for a corner. "As someone who took an Ancient Greek course at uni, I'm 99.9% certain that the properest plural of hippopotamus is hippopotamoi," drawls Edith Haimberger. "But such pedantry is frowned upon in common usage, so we are stuck with the equally accepted hippopotamuses and hippopotami."
4 min: It's all Mexico at the moment. They're flitting around the South African box like flies. Giovani almsot broke through again just now, but rather than shoot from an inviting position crossed, and Khumalo headed clear.
6 min: South Africa forage forward for the first time but are let down by a weak cross from the right. "On the subject of office sweepstakes, I was a little underwhelmed to get Serbia in my office competition," groans Benjie Goodhart, who does not appear to be as hard to find these days as Fergal Sharkey once suggested. "So imagine my excitement when another department invited me to take part in their sweepstake. Excitement only slightly diminished by drawing Serbia. Still, in the unlikely event of Serbia winning the tournament, I'll probably have a larger win bonus than Vidic."
8 min: It's pleasing fare so far, both sides determined to attack, although so far Mexican have looked more adept at doing that than the hosts, whose passing has been a little rash. Nerves, perhaps. "I think it would be good if England came onto the pitch sort of strutting, with their elbows bent and their chins and arses sticking out, the way power walkers do, with the theme from The Sweeney playing," trumpets Paddy. "Yeah, that would be good. I wish I had a telly."
10 min: Huge excitement in the crowd as Tshabalala receives the ball in space on the left for the first time, but he makes poor use of it, poking it straight to a Mexican defender. "We're only ten minutes into it, but already the World Cup is being ruined by that incessant, stupid droning noise," screeches Ray Kelly. "Is there any way we can get FIFA to ban Peter Drury?"
12 min: Mexico win a corner but it would have been more if not for a fine tackle by Thwala. Franco leaps to meet the delivery at the near post and his finish is shoddy, heading way over from six yards. It was a great chance. "I read a bit of Greek at Uni and would like to get a mention for my favourite word: batrachomyomachia," announces Andrew Hallsworth. "Literally it means a battle between frogs and mice, so effectively means a storm in a tea-cup. Could equally be used to describe Switzerland v Honduras."
14 min: Impressive interplay from South Africa opened Mexico up, and, with Tshabalala threatening to collect a through-ball, Salcido pulls him down. Freekick to Bafana Bafana, about 25 yards out and central. Pienaar curls it a couple of yards over. "In Indonesian you repeat words to pluralise, or sometimes for random comedy effect," discloses Tom and Amy in The Hague. "So Jalan = road; jalan jalan = walking around in an aimless manner. Or mata = eye; mata mata = spy."
17 min: After a jittery opening South Africa have steadied themselves are now exerting regular pressure on Mexico, whose defender Juarez, has just recieved the first yellow card of the tournament for a foul borne of frustration.
19 min: Ooooh! That was close ... and should have been closer. Mexico carved South Africa apart with a sprightly counter-attack but Giovani, one-on-one with the keeper, flashed the ball wide from 20 yards. Ropey finishing is a regular problem for these otherwise decent sides. "Hey, I have a few bob on Diego Forlan to get the Golden Boot," squawks Big Bri. "What are my chances?" The last bookies I checked were quoting 50/1, and I reckon that's highly generous. My money's on Crouch at 80/1. And no, I don't expect England to win the tournament.
21 min: Another good bukld-up by South Africa and for a moment Mexico were exposed. But Mphela took the wrong option, and rather than feed Tshabalala early doors, he took the ball wide. His subsequent cross was cut out by the keeper.
23 min: Mexico are playing for much of the time with only three at the back - two full-backs and a solitary centreback - as Marquez ventures forward to join in attacks. It's an entertainingly risky approach, thickening the plot of this engaging game. That said, nothing much has happened over the last two minutes. "In Turkish, words are repeated for emphasis," bawls Julien Gutknecht. "Take, for example, yavaş meaning slow. yavaş yavaş means very slow."
25 min: Dikgacoi booked for tripping Giovani, who had ghosted past two defenders prior to coming up againt the Fulham man. The freekick is about 27 yards out, a little to the left. And Marquez wellies it over.
27 min: Pienaar, popping up all over the place, receives an Mphela pass on the left ... but is soon dispossessed. Now might be a good time for an amusing, musical intrusion by BananaMan.
29 min: Outstanding save by Khune! It was a lovely move by Mexico, Vela clipping a perfectly-weighted ball to Franco, who, having got the jump on his marker, killed it with one sweet touch and then tried to flip it past the keeper from eight yards. But Khune spread himself rapidly and showed a strong wrist to bat it away. "I'm from Indonesia and what those guys from The Hague said in 14 min is right," confirms Pangeren in Jakarta. "I give you another one. Laba means profit. Laba-laba means spider." That's poetry, folks.
32 min: Mexico have most of the ball, South Africa remain intent on countering but have sometimes struggled to connect with lone striker Mphela quickly enough.
34 min: Tshabala spots a smart dash by Mphela ... but his pass is too heavy and it runs into the hands of the keeper.
36 min: Mexico create another opening, but again their finish does not do justice to the build-up, Vela crossing when he should have shot. He plays for Arsenal, see.
DISALLOWED GOAL! And correctly so. Mexico nodded it in from a corner taht had been flicked on after Khone came for it and missed embarassingly. But the striker was just offside so the visitors' celebrations are aborted.
40 min: Another terrible senorita! Or Mexican miss, as we could also say. Franco was free, 12 yards from goal, and directed a wonderful cross wide. "In Tagalog, a Philippine language, mahal can mean beloved, and mahal-mahal means very expensive," reveals Eush T. "The more you know ..."
42 min: Excellent break down the right by Gaxa, followed by a nice trick to make room for the cross. That cross was then diverted behind for a corner. Perez looked no safer under it than Khune has done at the other end, but Franco spared him by beating Phela to the ball and heading wide, as is his wont. Another corner for South Africa. And then another one. And finally Mexico wallop it clear.
44 min: Tshabalala swings in another corner and Perez struggles again, but manages to fumble it behind. They whip it in again, this time the keeper doesn't come for it, and Digkacoi rises at the back post and sends a header ... just over the bar!
Half-time: As predicted, there has been lots of neat play, mainly from Mexico, and lots of shoddy finishing. "It seems that the volume of the vuvuzelas actually goes down when South Africa come close, "notes Kevin Bowman. "I suppose blowing your horn doesn't feel right when you have a chance of scoring."
About the disallowed goal: A surprising number of you have asked me to explain how the Mexican scorer could have been offside given that there was a South African defender on the line. The reaosn is simple: the offside law states that there must be two players between the attacker and the goal-line - usually the goalkeeper is one, but on this occassion Khune had gone on an impromptu safari, leaving just one defender and rendering the attacker offside.
"That Banana Man video is rather good," blurts Billy Murphy. "I've been in a terrible funk for months, not even the World Cup is picking me up, irreverantly enough though, this video is. Now I'm happy! Ooh Ah Cotes D'Ivoire, I said Ooh Ah Cotes D'Ivoire!"
"I hope that Efan Ekoku read your explanation for the disallowed goal," warbles Nick Potter. "Because he keeps going on about it on American tv and misinforming an already ignorant nation of soccerball fans."
Another mail: "The match commentator on Univision keeps singing the refrain to Duran Duran's The Reflex every time Tshabalala shows up," informs Thereaa Wyner. Why, because every little thing he does leaves an answer with a question mark? And, in light of our earlier linguistic lessons, what might the repetition of Duran Duran mean? And anyone care to venture a translation for Djemba Djemba?
46 min: The second half has started. Given how many of you were ignorant of the offside law, I should perhpas specify that South Africa took the kick-off, because Mexico had the honours in the first period. And for the benefit of any French strikers who may be tuning in, let me reiterate that the laws of football prohibit controlling and passing the ball with your great big cheating hand.
47 min: South Africa, by the way, made a substitution at half-time: Thwala off, Masilela on at left-back instead.
48 min: The match has quickly settled into the same pattern as the first half, with Mexico zipping the ball around purposefully and South Africa chasing gamefully and, after eventually retrieving the ball, knocking it about a bit themselves before giving it away.
50 min: Mexico are preparing to make a change, Guardado warming up. "Google's translation service tells me Duran is Turkish for standing or lingering," yells Paul Bourdin. "So I think Duran Duran means stalking."
GOAL! South Africa 1-0 Mexico (Tshabalala 54') What's more, it's an absolute stonker! Mexico's flasher tendencies - I did mention, didn't I, that they have a penchant for exposing themselves - were exploited expertly, as their disparate defence was dissected with a splendid pas from midfield. Tshabalala collected it on the left-hand side of the box and enflamed it into the top corner!
57 min: Soccer City is rocking, and Mexico are reeling. South Africa are pressing for a second here ...
58 min: Franco gets a header on a freekick and for once directs it on target, but Khune catches it comfortably. "I'm still at work without a telly, which means this is the first time I don't get to see a World Cup opening match since Belgium vs Argentina in 1982," mourns Jan Ebersohl. "And I don't have a pun to offer so I won't even get my comment published. All I can come up with right now is that Vuvuzela and Uwe Seeler (you know, the Hamburg forward from the sixties) must sound almost the same to German ears. That's not enough, is it?" You really think our standards are that low?
59 min: Fine work by Giovani, who cut into the box and let fly from a tight angle from 18 yards. Khune pushes it behind at full-stretch. "It was Dikgacoi's beautiful pass," my helpful colleague Richard Williams yells at me all the way from Soccer City. "Made in Fulham!"
61 min: Dikgacoi attempts to cement his reputation as the South African Danny Murphy by blemming one into the net from 30 yards. Alas, his effort was more worthy of a South African Dickson Etuhu.
63 min: Mexico have lost their rhytmn since the goal and South Africa, of course, have been buoyed. They're having more of the ball now and, indeed, almost added a second, Modise sidefooting wide from close range. Too close, as it turned out: he was offside. "Duran Duran comes from the movie Barbarella starring the rather luscious Jane Fonda," drools Alexander Huw. "It contained an Orgasmatron, and I think my South African wife just pressed the start button when Bafana Bafana scored …"
66 min: Franco crowded out after controlling the ball nicely in the Bafana Bafana box.
68 min: Mexico substitution: Vela off, Blanco, age 109, on.
70 min: Gasxa rumbles forward and slips a cute ball through to Modise, who, with Rodriguez hassling him, shoots straight at the keeper, who had surged forward to narrow the angle.
70 min: Mexican have the ball but they can't pick a way through South Africa, who are pressing frantically while preserving their shape, like some kind of manic potter. Or something.
71 min: Mexico's last throw of the dice: Franco off, Manchester United new boy Hernandez on. Is this a good place to repeat that he is nicknamed The Pea? Or should I save that for the pod(cast)?
73 min: South Africa are well on song now, absolutely buzzing. Where in the first half they have been sloppy, now they are slick. Perez had to hurtle off his line just now to intercept a cross after another fine raid by the Bafana Bafana. "May I suggest a new chant for the goalscorer, to the tune of Hey Jude," pleads Rob Thorpe. "Naa, naa naa, TSHABALALA ... You get the point." Yes.
75 min: Mokoena beats Blanco to the ball to turn a cross behind for a corner. "All due respect to Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda, whether Mrs. Huw indulges in the orgasmatron or not, I believe that it was the creation of Woody Allen from the movie Sleeper, which apparently this match is not," toots Philip Jackson. I just thought it was a Motorhead album.
GOAL! South Africa 1-1 Mexico (Marquez 78') It was shoddy defending by South Africa, who found themselves with just one defender attempting to control three attackers after Mexico took a corner short. Guardado crossed from the left, Marquez took it down and drove it past Khune from seven yards.
80 min: Modise, who has been lively in this second half, attempts to conjure down the right, then turns in-field and plays it to Pienaar, whose pass is intercepted, enabling Mexico to hurtle forward. South Africa mop up, but you get the feeling the scoring has not finished in this game ...
82 min: Pienaar withdrawn for Bernard Parker of FC Twente. That's an attacking move by coach Parreira.
83 min: Excellent covering tackle by Khumalo to deny Hernandez.
85 min: It is, as they say, end-to-end stuff. As soon as Osorio dispossessed Parker on the edge of the Mexican area he cariied the ball 60 yards forward down the right. And then lost it.
86 min: The ITV commentary team has just praised the referee for having a good game so far, despite being from Uzbekistan.
88 min: Blanco has been the fulcrum of Mexico's attacking since his introduction and he nearly served up a lovely cross for Hernandez. But it was fractionally too high and, therefore, so was the striker's header from 10 yards.
South Africa hit the post! Mphela raced on to a ball lofted over the top and, from an inviting angle and with the keeper bearing down on him, shot against the outside of the upright.
90+1 min: Hernandez slips in the box after a sharp through-ball from Torrado. "There can only be one chant for Tshabalala," claims Seth Levine. "Tom Waits' Jersey Girl, as sung by The Boss - 'Tshabala, Tshabalala, I'm in love with a Jersey Girl'"
Full-time: That was a thrilling opening to the World Cup. There were errors from both sides, particularly in terms of the final ball, but there was also plenty of sharp passing and inventive movement and the whole contest was played at a cracking tempo and in a pure spirit. Will France v Uruguya be even better? Find out soon right here at guardian.co.uk. Please.
Fifa World Cup Essay
It’s was no surprise that the momentum took place and heated up for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. This particular tournament is the world’s largest and most-watched sporting event with 30 billion viewers over the course of the event. From a business standpoint, it’s the most important platform for sporting goods companies to market their brands. Brands are appealing to boost their profile and sales by tapping into the passion surrounding the World Cup, but while some are official sponsors, others are just benefiting from any desirable side effect.
Football was a game played between two teams of 11 players each, 10 field players and a goalkeeper per team. The game lasted 90 minutes, consisting of two 45-minute halves of running time. It was played with an oval ball, on a rectangular grass field with a goal on either end. Excluding the goalkeeper, the ball was controlled only with the feet, legs, torso and head (the use of hands or arms was prohibited) and the team scoring the most goals by the end of the game was the winner.
Football was the most popular sport in the world, by both viewership and participation, and was continuing to grow. In 2006, Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international governing body for football, estimated that 265 million people worldwide played football, up from 242 million in 2000. Professional leagues existed throughout the world, though the top talent and most popular clubs were in Western Europe, concentrated in England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France. Since the early 1990’s professional team rosters in Western Europe had become increasingly globalized, with stars from South America, Africa and Asia playing in the top leagues.
The World Cup, FIFA’s flagship event, was a tournament between 32 qualifying nations held once every four years. The first World Cup was held in 1930 in Uruguay. In 2006 the World Cup was held in Germany and drew a cumulative TV viewership of 26.29 billion over the course of the event. It was estimated that nearly half the planet, approximately 3 billion people, watched the 2006 World
The World Cup was the culminating event for national teams, players, fans and promoters and it was the most watched sporting event in the world.
A tournament held every 4 years between 32 qualifying nations around the world and while Adidas has always been the official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup and leader in the football market. How can Nike increase their market share in football and obtain a dominant market share, greater than Adidas? How can Nike separate themselves from their competitors?
In October of 2008, Members of the marketing and football senior leadership teams were gathered to calibrate and refine the company’s strategy leading to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Nike Football’s World Cup 2010 marketing strategy started with delivering top of the line performance product offerings in the form of new cleats, also known as boots and...
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