While it took over 24 hours of flying time to get here (here being Johannesburg) from Boston, it’s been an amazing trip so far. Last night we went to the Spain–Germany match in Durban. We got there several hours in advance to get fired up at the beach festival adjacent to the Fan Fest location. Although it was a bit chilly (it is winter here after all), we had a great time people watching and having a couple local cocktails. I was surprised to as many Spanish fans as I did, and there were plenty of Dutch fans around eager to see who will take on their side on Sunday.
The stadium was very impressive. Located near the water (think Quest Field in Seattle, but closer), it had amazing architecture and a super cool entrance-way. The place was electric. As soon as the kickoff occurred, the intensity ramped up. It was clear that was different than just about any sporting event I’ve ever been to. The teams were playing so hard and the fans were so into it. The only close analogy I can relate to personally was watching a Stanley Cup playoff game, but multiply it by ten or more. Even the vuvuzelas were better. They acted as a soundtrack to the game, if you will. When there was an exciting development – a breakaway, a re-start – they’d blare more, reinforcing the urgency of the situation. They were easy to tune out during most play. So, while I’m still not a fan of them and don’t want to see them at Fenway or the Garden, I don’t dislike them nearly as much as I did before coming.
I was surprised that the game turned out like it did. Spain came out as the aggressor and for awhile it seemed like Germany was content to let Spain play themselves out, while they’d wait for La Furia Roja to tire themselves out. But as the game progressed, it became clear that Germany wasn’t going to be able to counterpunch like they did in earlier games. And the Spanish defense, particularly Casillas in net, wouldn’t fold. The best team won. And Sunday should be a hell of a match.
Sean Scales | CITY SPORTS
Chief Operating Officer