Joe Biden – World Cup Fan-in-Chief

12 06 2010


South Africa tied Mexico this morning 1-1. The first goal of 2010 World Cup, the first World Cup in Africa, was scored for the home team by Siphiwe Tshabalala and I think it’s safe to say that the whole country saw it and reveled in it. If you went my the books, Mexico should have trounced South Africa, but soccer rarely works that way. It was not, however, for lack of trying and a hat should be tipped to South African goal keeper Itumeleng Khune.
Yes, I know that Mexico made a goal too, but the South African goal was less expected, more hoped for, and made a nation go nuts, so that is why it’s my choice for photo moment of the match.

France and Uruguay played a much duller game which ended tied as well. The final score was 0-0. The game picked up at the very end, but it was the French game that was so disappointing. Somebody needs to remind a few of their stars that there’s no “I” in “team”. That was the inspiration for my choice of photo moment of the match. Thierry Henry, France’s superstar, having his free kick blocked my a wall of Uruguayan defenders. That’s pretty much that match in microcosm – France would get the ball down the field and be held back by Uruguay’s defensive line. The only other incident of note is that this game brought the World Cup’s first red card. This distinction goes to Uruguay’s Nicolas Lodeiro after, wait for it, 18 minutes of play. He came on as a substitute at minute 63 and got his first red card two minutes later. Sixteen minutes after that he was off for a bad tackle. The drama was the most interesting part of this game. By the way, I’ve posted links to match summaries because I could go on forever. Once again, the soccer photos are from daylife.com.

Joe Biden will be at the US vs. England game representing us – the soccer fans, I mean – and I am so glad about the. Who else in this administration could be an effective fan-in-chief? The president is too reserved and doesn’t get too emotionally charged. I like that in a world leader, but it makes for an awful soccer fan. Soccer fans are a rather intense bunch, and I want the government official representing me to get into the game a little. They don’t have to get fully costumed like the dedicated individuals we’ve become so used to seeing, but jumping to one’s feet and cheering like a frat boy on pledge week would be nice. I don’t see that coming from Obama – at least not in public. The president is not the worst choice for a fan-in-chief though. Hillary Clinton is probably the worst choice for the job. At least the president has a certain “coolness” factor that could work at a sporting event. Hillary Clinton is many things, but she is not cool. Not even a little bit. The Secretary of State goes well beyond just being reserved, she’s never relaxed in public. There never are light moments with her that the public is privy to, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – she’s more than entitled to her privacy – but she’s too sever a personality to be fan-in-chief. Can you see her in the stands? Cheering. Not being at all serious or concerned with her work. The mental image is laughable! I can’t imagine her looking anything but miserable and that is not the look I want to represent my soccer fandom. Besides, pantsuits aren’t exactly proper fan attire. She’d look ridiculous and would you want her singing the national anthem?

That just looks painful!
I have confidence in Vice President Biden’s ability to behave like a fan at today’s game against England. He needs to get himself a USA scarf and cheer and jump around like the rest of us will if the US manages to score against England.

I’ll have more soccer info later today. South Korea is playing Greece now and has just scored at about the seventh minute making it 1-0. Argentina will play Nigeria at 10:00 am and then it’s the USA vs. England. Pre-game stuff starts at 2 pm. I’ll leave you with a look at what is usually referred to as a soccer team’s 12th man – the fans.


South Africa fans.


Desmond Tutu celebrates the South African goal. Behind him is Mexican president Felipe Calderon.


Mexico fans.


An Uruguay fan who is or knows someone who’s really good with face paint.


Fans of France. Love the ‘staches!

This is the strangest fan I’ve seen yet.

Yes, it’s a rooster and yes, I am holding back about a half-dozen jokes. I’ won’t type them out because, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. In case you were wondering…


yes, they were in the stands for the game. I love the expression on the face of the guy in red. I think he sees the comic potential of this situation as well and just doesn’t want to be involved.

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It Has Begun – World Cup 2010!

11 06 2010

The festivities have begun in South Africa as the 2010 World Cup kicks off with a celebration concert full of award-winning musicians from around the world and a fusion of western and african rhythm that had the crowd dancing from start to finish. Here is the artist lineup from FIFA’s website. Stars well-known to US audiences including the Black-Eyed Peas and Shakira performed alongside Angelique Kidjo, the world-famous singer from Benin, international jazz legend and South African native Hugh Masekela, and the Soweto Gospel Choir among many others. Those who know their contemporary history with recognize the significance of both locating the start of the World Cup in Soweto and having their Gospel Choir perform at the opening ceremonies. I’ve attached a link anyway. Music plays such a large role in South African culture and has for so long that, as I continue to follow the coverage, my musician’s heart is thrilled with the near omnipresence of fabulous music. Germany didn’t rock like this!

Here are some pictures from the concert and this is a link to where you can watch it. Just a note, all pictures were taken from daylife.com, thank you, DayLife!


I love this guy’s hair!


Shakira


Amadou and Mariam


Angelique Kidjo


South African President Jacob Zuma stands at a podium. To his left is the president of FIFA.


Fans rock out to the Black Eyed Peas.


The Black Eyed Peas


Hugh Masekela


There were parties all over South Africa in the days leading up to the start of the World Cup. This was taken at Cape Town’s “Welcome the World” party.


John Legend


Former Anglican bishop and human rights champion Desmond Tutu.


Tinariwen


The crowd’s enthusiasm never let up even as the concert drew to a close.


Vusi Mahlasela


What they’re all chasing.


Former South African president Nelson Mandela has not yet made an appearance, but his image is everywhere. Now 91-years-old, he has cut back his public appearances greatly and essentially retired to private life, but people in South Africa and the world over see this event – the first ever event like this in Africa – as a testament to his lifetime of achievements. It is expected that he will attend tomorrow’s pre-game events, though the word has gone out that it will only be a brief visit.
****UPDATE*** Nelson Mandela has announced he will not be attending today’s game. His great-granddaughter Zenani, just thirteen-years-old, was killed in a car accident leaving the concert last night. This is the New York Times article. I’ve also heard it verified on BBC and read it on ESPN.com. I sincerely hope Bafana Bafana, the South African team, win today’s match in her memory. Former president Mandela’s presence was expected to be one of the World Cup’s more emotional high points.

Tomorrow’s game at 9:25 am pits Mexico against the home team, South Africa’s beloved Bafana Bafana. Match 2, Uruguay vs. France is at 2:30 pm. Saturday sees Greece up against South Korea at 7:30 am, at 10:00 am Argentina faces Nigeria, and the USA plays their first match against England at 2:30 pm.

* EDIT* All times are EST because I’m from the east coast and occasionally forget that some people aren’t so lucky.

If you feel like dancing around the room while getting into the soccer spirit, here’s the video of the Official Song for the 2010 World Cup, Shakira’s Waka Waka (Time for Africa).

I’m linking back to my post about the US seeking to host the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022. If you haven’t signed the petition, please think about it. And, because you know I have to…

VIVA ITALIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!