I haven't been this amped for a World Cup in a long time. Probably not since I was able to truly experience it for the first time while living in Chile when they qualified for West Germany 1974, and I watched an entire nation come to a halt each time they took the field half a world away.
Part of my excitement for S.A. 2010 is the anticipation (a more than a little nationalistic pride) of following a USA team that has at long last established itself as a legitimate player on the world stage. Not a title contender—that is almost certainly at least another decade away—but as a side with reasonable expectation of advancing out of group play and perhaps beyond.
But there's so much more:
The venue, South Africa, and all that signifies.
The coverage, bigger, better and by orders of magnitude more in-depth than ever, allowing me to follow all the teams, and all the stories, as never before.
The passion of the world for this event, just starting to seep into the consciousness of a US popular culture that for so long has at best ignored, and at worst chosen to demean it, simply because—well, I don't really know the reason.
But that doesn't matter now ... World Cup 2010 is upon us.
Bring. It. On.
The magic of the Opening Match
The curtain-raiser to a FIFA World Cup™ is always an extra-special occasion. And after four long years of waiting, the football family will be glued to the action this afternoon as South Africa take on Mexico in the Opening Match.
'The whole world is watching'
When the referee blows his whistle to usher in the tournament, all the accumulated tension will simply drain away, not just amid the 22 players on the pitch, but also among fans across the globe, who have had to go four long years without experiencing the magic of the FIFA World Cup. "It's fantastic because the whole world will be watching," Mexico's Carlos Vela told FIFA.com.
Quite apart from marking the beginning of a month of fun, excitement and superb football, the Opening Match has produced a number of shock results down the years ...
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