So, we are down to 8 teams remaining in the 2010 World Cup: Uruguay, Ghana, Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Paraguay, and Spain. Note there are 4 South American teams, 3 European teams, and 1 African team in that mix. I like that spread and think the next round will be just as good as this first knockout round has been. I can tell you that is has been amazing to here while it is all going on, and we’ve been in several cities, stadiums, fan zones, and other venues to take it all in. Dream come true for me.
I wanted to take a second to point out a few of the “winners” of the world cup so far. Not game winners, mind you, but sort of random stuff I have noticed – others who are coming out well.
1. Those Nike boots (cleats) with the orange heels.
Apparently these are the Nike Elite series, Mercurial something or other. Honestly, I hate Nike, and think of them as johnny-come-latelys with a lot money for advertising in soccer. But I’m old school like that. Either these shoes are legit (because it seems like 80% of the players are wearing them) or they have given some serious incentives to players to show off their shoes on the world stage. Probably a bit of both…
Adidas has always been the biggest sponsors/suppliers for soccer. In the current world cup, 12 of the teams are wearing Adidas kits (jerseys). I expect that. And, I generally like their uniforms. Next come Nike, supplying for 9 of the teams. Of course, they are supplying for some of the big/popular boys like Brazil and the USA. Add those shoes and I think Nike has really done well this world cup. BUT PUMA!! You may or may not know that Puma was started by one of the 2 guys that had also started Adidas. Or, you may just know them from all the teenagers wearing their overly-narrow shoes. For me, they are always in the ad game, but not big players. And then I started pointing out the teams who are wearing Puma this world cup. There are 7 – can you name them without looking at the Puma site? Hey, 7 is not 12, but it’s a lot for Puma to have in the tournament.
3. The Vuvuzela
Friends, before the world cup, I have never seen a white person with a vuvuzela. I have heard them aplenty at local soccer matches. But not at other sports, And not from whities. Then there was the big to-do over whether they would be banned and all the Euro-fans complaining about the noise and how low-brow it was. Really, noise at a sporting event? Crazy. And then FIFA said, “well it’s in Africa and that’s what they do, so we’ll let it go.” And being here, I can tell you that EVERYONE has at least one vuvuzela. It’s nuts. My kids took one and added some flair and are convinced they are going to start some sort of business. The vuvuzela has really become a global phenomenon.
4. South Africa
Remember how there was all that talk about could South Africa even pull off the world cup? Did we need a back-up country? Would it be safe? Was there enough transport? Are there enough hotels? Well, take that! SA has done amazing. Lots of fun, safe, hospitable. A friend’s mom pointed out that this is the most people who have ever been in the country (accounting for population growth + a TON of visitors all at once). I am so glad. And i hope everyone has a great time while here. I mean, I’m not surprised – we love it here. And glad that others are getting a first-hand look at why.
Can’t wait to see how the rest of the tournament goes, but these are a few of the things that have stood out so far for me. Would LOVE to hear what you think has been noticeable/successful so far…