I've waited 23 years to go to a World Cup and let me tell you it was not worth the wait! If watching a football game on T.V. makes my emotions go all over the place, then try to imagine what it is like to be part of this world-stage spectacle. It is better than falling in love.
I spent a little under two weeks in the sunny city of Durban where the weather could not have been better. It is known to be the only city in South Africa to have a warm climate throughout the year. Right now it is winter time in South Africa and most of its cities have temperatures ranging from 10º C (50ºF) to below 0ºC (32ºF). Not only was I lucky to be in this city, but also to watch two of the most exciting games that took place in the first round of the World Cup, Germany vs. Australia and Spain vs. Switzerland.
You may be wondering why this is. Well, the Germany (4) vs. Australia (0) game was the highest scoring game of the tournament thus far. This first round had had really low scoring games, not scoring more than three goals per game. Many football experts around the world started wondering if there was no longer a large difference between the famous football 'powerhouses' and the 'underdogs'. But after watching this game, it was reassuring to know that this tournament was not going to be limited by the amount of goals scored per game. It's no joke when it comes to German efficiency. These players only needed to attack four times to score four goals. This attack was complemented by the excellent defense that the Germans played. Each player knew exactly where to stand on the pitch and every time they would go up to attack the players would automatically change into their attacking positions. It was like watching a perfect chest game.
Meanwhile, the Spain (0) vs. Switzerland (1) game was probably one of the most shocking defeats of the first round of games. Many football experts and world press labeled Spain as one of the tournament favorites to lift the World Cup. However, I believe that the over confidence in the Spanish team led to this first defeat. It took more than the sound of the vuvuzela to wake up this Spanish team from their World Cup dream. That being said, it was a one sided game with Spain attacking and creating many goal opportunities, which would either be stopped by the goalkeeper or simply would go past the Swiss goal. But in football the team that has the opportunity and scores, wins. Switzerland did just that, they had less chances than Spain but with determination and a little luck, they won the game. To all the Spanish, Swiss, German and Australian fans keep in mind that this is only my opinion of what the games were like as they were 62,999 or so more fans per game. I am sure they all have a different opinion about the outcome of each game.
All in all, it was delightful to watch these two games live, regardless of who won or lost. The atmosphere that one feels from the moment you step out of the plane to the moment you yell that first goal of the game is indescribable. I can't think of another event of this magnitude that can bring these many people together from every corner of the world and be able to speak the same language, the language of football. It doesn't matter where you hail from, everyone is talking about the same thing, the players, the stadium, the pitch, the tactics, the atmosphere, everything that makes up a football tournament great. I was able to experience this first hand, when I went to watch the Spain vs. Switzerland game as I found myself singing along Swiss fans Mexican cheers. They spoke two words of spanish but they knew one of the most popular Mexican cheers. Inside the stadium, I would meet people from all over the world supporting the teams that would be playing as well as their own, and even supporting countries that didn't qualify for this World Cup. Apart from the fans, the sound of the vuvuzelas, the lighting in the stadium, the flags being wave, the media, the security, among many other things made this a memorable experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I can't wait for Brazil 2014!