Friday, June 25, 2010

6/25/10 – US vs Algeria and Netherlands vs Cameroon

               It appears as though I have fallen behind again in my blog in all of the excitement. Two days ago was the United States vs Algeria match, the most important game of the tournament to me thus far. If the US won, they were moving on to the next round, and if they tied or lost, they would likely be eliminated. We were hoping to go to the Fan Fest in Cape Town to watch the game, but unfortunately they decided to show the England game instead of ours. So we eventually found the perfect bar, The Purple Turtle. The Purple Turtle was apparently the spot to be for USA fans! The place was packed with red, white, and blue. I even spotted a familiar face from the U of O who plays for the club team there. The game itself was a mixture of excitement and frustration. The game was end to end action and the USA was robbed of another goal due to an unfortunate decision by the referee. The USA had so many chances including one off the bar, but heading into stoppage time, the score was still 0 to 0. Finally, in the 92nd minute, probably just moments before the referee was going to blow his whistle and send the USA home, Donovan clinched the victory with a goal following a wonderful US buildup. The Purple Turtle went CRAZY!! Everyone was jumping up on down, dancing on tables, blowing their vuvuzelas, and hugging fellow Americans whom they had never met. The party continued at purple turtle for another hour before we left to catch our train. Even in the streets everyone yelled out supporting remarks for the American team and the incredible victory. England also won, 1 to 0, but we still clinched first place in the group due to scoring more goals. A few English supporters were not so positive toward our team and tried to pick a fight with us on the street. Lucky for them we just exchanged a few harsh words and eventually went on our own ways. It was such an awesome night, and the US have an excellent chance to continue deep into the tournament, getting to play a beatable Ghana in the second round. And if we keep on winning we will play in Cape Town for the semi-final match!! I would do everything in my power to get a ticket to that!!

                Yesterday afternoon we hung out at Kalk Bay, watching seals, eating fresh fish, and watching reigning champions Italy take an early exit to the tournament. It was quite a shocker to see Italy get beat by Slovakia, but I found it pretty amusing, that's what they deserve for playing ugly soccer. After watching that game on tv at a bar in Kalk Bay, we hopped on the train for the night game between Netherlands and Cameroon. Jesse and I had our tickets together again, and Jamaica, Dave, and Eber were sitting together elsewhere in the stadium. By looking at our tickets, it seemed like Jesse and I had pretty good ones. When we got to the stadium and searched for our seats, my grin got bigger and bigger as we made our way down the steps closer and closer to the field. Jesse and I sat right at the half-line in the 3rd row!! I could see the individual blades of grass on the field!! When the players took the field Van Persie and Dirk Kuyt were on our flank, and I could clearly see their faces!! The game was very entertaining as well. I was supporting the Dutch, as was the majority of the stadium it seemed. They ended up winning 2 to 1 with goals from Van Persie and Huntelaar and a penalty kick from Samuel Eto'o for Cameroon. Arjen Robben came on in the 70th minute and played incredibly, having one wonderful strike hit the post and fall to Huntelaar for his easy goal. The Dutch fans are a lot of fun with their creative orange outfits and I had a great time watching them celebrate after the game. If Brazil wins today, and both Brazil and Netherlands win their second round game, then those two teams will meet in the quarterfinal that Dave and I are attending in Port Elizabeth!! Today we also need Spain to win, Dave and my favorite team outside the US, so that we will see them in our second round match. So everybody please cheer for Spain today over Chile!!

                Today we are all taking some time to recuperate after some exhausting fun-filled days. We plan to watch the Spain vs Chile game and the Brazil vs Portugal games either at a bar or just here at home. Both games are so important because it dictates who we'll see in the second round.

                Apart from soccer, I really love Cape Town and all of the small towns around it. Cape Town is big, but really not too crowded. Everyone so far has been so nice and we almost always feel safe. South Africa is so well prepared for this event; there are police officers and security always within your sight if you ever need any help. I have always felt that Americans are generally disliked abroad, but being here I have learned to take more pride in where I am from. When we are wearing our USA gear people are always stopping us to tell us how much they are cheering for our team and how much they like our country. It is also so nice to be able to return to Fish Hoek after spending a day in Cape Town. Fish Hoek is so quiet and safe, and most importantly far away from the noise of the vuvuzelas. Our home is such a nice retreat from the excitement in Cape Town. I am having such an incredible trip!!

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