Friday, June 11, 2010

The (Soccer) World Comes to South Africa


Every four comes like clockwork. Yes, the Olympics for certain, but also the World Cup of Soccer. World Cup 2010 opens in South Africa today with teams from Mexico and South Africa squaring off. This is amazing in so many ways. I watched the movie, Invictus, the other day, concerning the 1995 South African Rugby World Cup team. The movie reveals the struggles of South Africa as they came out of apartheid 20 years ago. I already had much respect for Nelson Mandela, the newly elected president at that time...who led the charge against the segregation of blacks and whites in that country...but, to see his faith and love for his people after being incarcerated for decades -- it was inspiring. So, South Africa has traveled eons, in many respects, in just a relatively short period of time.

Now, the whole world is going to be watching the world's sport for the next few weeks...and South Africa is going to be in the spotlight. I will watch some of the games, and I hope there will be some great games as well as some upsets. Like the NCAA Basketball Tournament, this is what makes the World Cup, so is so often unpredictable. Many are assuming that this will be Argentina's World Cup, as they are led by the "best player in the world," Lionel Messi. I think many are hoping for a repeat of a couple of decades ago, when another Argentine legend, Diego Maradona, who is now their coach, led them to the World Cup. I wouldn't put it past the Argentines to pull it off, but the Brazilians will be good, per usual, as will Spain, Italy, Portugal, England, and others. There have been a lot of injuries leading up to this event, so some of the favorites may not be as good as advertized. It would be great if the U.S. could knock off England tomorrow. It would be a great start for our guys, if it could happen. Anything can's a new year, so we'll see.


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