Every four years the soccer world gathers for the most thrilling level of competition that the sport has to offer during the FIFA World Cup. The 2010 World Cup is set to begin on June 11 when the host country South Africa takes on Mexico and will conclude with the Championship Match on July 11. In total there will be 64 soccer matches held over this month long time span in 10 different arenas. Here is a guide with some information about those ten venues and which games will be held there.
Soccer City – Johannesburg, South Africa
Soccer City is the largest of the 10 arenas hosting 2010 World Cup matches as it seats 94,700 at capacity. Soccer City will host eight World Cup matches (tied for most) including the opening match (South Africa versus Mexico) and the Championship match as well. Other matches held at Soccer City include Denmark versus the Netherlands (June 14), Argentina versus South Korea (June 17), Brazil versus the Ivory Coast (June 20), Ghana versus Germany (June 23), a second round match on June 27 and a quarterfinal match on July 2.
Moses Mabhida Stadium – Durban, South Africa
Moses Mabhida Stadium will host five round matches, one second round match and one of the two semifinal matches for this year’s World Cup. The 70,000 seat arena hosts its first match on June 13 (Germany versus Australia) followed by Spain versus Switzerland (June 16), the Netherlands versus Japan (June 19), Nigeria versus Korea Republic (June 22) and Brazil versus Portugal (June 25) in the opening round. The second round match will be held on June 28 and the Semifinal match will take place on July 7.
Cape Town Stadium – Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town Stadium is another venue that will host eight World Cup matches this year. There will be five first round contests including Uruguay versus France (June 11), Italy versus Paraguay (June 14), England versus Algeria (June 18), Portugal versus Korea Democratic People Republic (June 21) and Cameroon versus the Netherlands (June 24). The 60,070 capacity arena will also host a second round match on June 29, a quarterfinal match on July 3 and a semifinal match on July 6.
Ellis Park Stadium/Coca Cola Stadium – Johannesburg, South Africa
Ellis Park Stadium is a 62,567 seat venue that will open its doors for seven 2010 World Cup matches. The five first round matches include Argentina versus Nigeria (June 12), Brazil versus North Korea (June 15), United States versus Slovenia (June 18), Spain versus Honduras (June 21) and Slovakia versus Italy (June 24). There will also be a second round match on June 28 and a quarterfinal match on July 3 as well.
Loftus Versfeld Stadium – Petoria, South Africa
Loftus Versfeld Stadium will be the site of six World Cup matches this year including five first round contests and one second round match. In the first round Serbia will face Ghana on June 13 followed by South Africa versus Uruguay (June 16), Cameroon versus Denmark (June 19), United States versus Algeria (June 23) and Chile versus Spain (June 25); the second round match will be held on June 29. This venue holds a capacity of 51,760 people.
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium – Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is a brand new arena that was built largely because South Africa was awarded the 2010 World Cup. This 48,000 seat stadium will host eight World Cup matches in total this year including five first round matches, one second round match, one quarterfinal match and the third place match. The first round matches include South Korea versus Greece (June 12), the Ivory Coast versus Portugal (June 15), Germany versus Serbia (June 18), Chile versus Switzerland (June 21) and England versus Slovenia (June 23). The second round match will be held on June 26, the quarterfinal match on July 2 and the third place match takes place on July 10.
Free State Stadium – Bloemfontein, South Africa
Free State Stadium is a 48,000 seat stadium that will host six total World Cup matches this year. Five of the six matches will be first round contests which include Japan versus Cameroon (June 14), Greece versus Nigeria (June 17), Slovakia versus Paraguay (June 20), France versus South Africa (June 22) and Switzerland versus Honduras (June 25). The second round match will take place on June 27.
Peter Mokaba Stadium – Polokwane, South Africa
Peter Mokaba Stadium will host just four first round matches for this year’s World Cup. The first match will be between Algeria versus Slovenia on June 13 and will be followed by France versus Mexico (June 17), Greece versus Argentina (June 22) and Paraguay versus New Zealand (June 24) inside of this 46,000 seat arena.
Mbomela Stadium – Nelspruit, South Africa
Mbomela Stadium is a 43,500 seat stadium that will host four opening round World Cup matches this year. The four matches include Honduras versus Chile on June 16, Italy versus New Zealand on June 20, Australia versus Serbia on June 23 and Korea Democratic People Republic on June 25.
Royal Bafokeng Stadium – Rustenburg, South Africa
Royal Bafokeng Stadium is the smallest of the 10 venues hosting World Cup matches this year. There will be a total of six matches taking place in the 42,000 seat stadium including five in the first round and one in the second. The first opening round match between the United States and England on June 12 and will be followed by New Zealand versus Slovakia on June 15, Ghana versus Australia on June 19, Mexico versus Uruguay on June 22 and Denmark versus Japan on June 24. The second round match will take place on June 26.
(AP) BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina coach Diego Maradona has apologized for running over the foot of a cameraman as he was driving into the team’s training ground on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
Maradona explained Thursday that he was driving into the gated-complex and, as he neared the entrance, his Mini was surrounded by photographers trying to get footage. Maradona said he gave a statement later to the local prosecutor.
Maradona arrived at the training complex Wednesday to hand over his final list of 23 players who will represent Argentina in the World Cup. Two-time champion Argentina plays in a group in South Africa with Nigeria, South Korea and Greece.
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When I was a kid there were three little league sports available in my town. There was baseball in the spring and summer, football in the fall, and basketball in the winter. It seemed like all boys played baseball and lots of boys played football. Basketball seemed to be somewhat more exclusive. You had to have at least some talent for it.
All of these were male only sports. I knew that older girls played softball because I sometimes saw them practicing on fields adjacent to our practice fields. But if there were little league sports for younger girls, I was oblivious to them. I had only brothers.
I hated team sports as a kid. I have never been any good at any game involving a ball. But I played because that’s what my brothers and all of my friends did. My baseball summers consisted of dreading to go to bat for the inevitable strike out and seemingly endless hours standing in right field where the ball seldom came. I swatted gnats and picked dandelions, unconscious of what was happening in the game.
Mom and Dad signed me up for football when I was eight, figuring that I was just like my older brothers. The team was huge. I was so bad that I was fourth string right offensive guard. I showed up game after game, but never played. That was OK because I didn’t want to play anyway. But the coach put me in during the last quarter of the final game of the season. Dad, who was watching the game from the car, had fallen asleep by then. I never signed up for football again.
Once a boy in my town turned 12, his little league days were finished. He could play church sports — softball in the summer and basketball in the winter. He could play school sports — football, basketball, baseball, wrestling, tennis — but only if he was good enough. I heard of a few kids playing on competition league teams, but these were rare in my area back then.
I never even heard of anyone playing youth soccer until I was 17. The first time I actually saw kids play soccer (except as part of gym class) was when I was a young adult living in Norway. By the time I was a father, however, it seemed like all kids played soccer. Plus there were lots of other types of athletics available for both boys and girls (and mixed). Many sports offered competition leagues.
Although I had detested playing sports as a kid, I vowed that as a father I would give my kids the opportunity to play and I would support them. I didn’t want my kids to miss out just because I didn’t care for sports. But I also vowed that I would never make any child of mine play sports if he didn’t want to.
We signed my oldest son up for AYSO soccer when he turned five. (We have never done any soccer other than AYSO.) Back then they fielded a fairly large team on a fairly large field. The kids ran around in a big bunch, all trying to kick the ball at the same time. One kid on each side played goalie. My son was often one of those that was off somewhere on the field picking dandelions.
Toward the end of my son’s second season, he was put in as goalie. An opposing player with a good leg (but lousy aim) kicked a ball right into my son’s gut. The team cheered him for his heroic save, but it had all been an accident. He thought he was going to pass out. At any rate, he was done with soccer. He later played baseball for a couple of seasons, but then decided he was done with all team sports.
My second son was far more adept at soccer. He seemed to enjoy it. Year after year he kept coming back. He played well in the back and mid-field, but was never great as a forward. When he got older, his teammates became aware of his goalie abilities. He didn’t mind playing in the goal, but he didn’t want to be there full time. When he was 16, he received an ankle injury as the result of an illegal action by a non-registered player. It took six months of physical therapy to fully recover. Although he liked soccer, he decided that he was done with it. He also played baseball several seasons, but eventually ran into enough time conflicts that he quit.
I was impressed with the soccer setup when son #3 started playing. They had small fields. Each team fielded three players at a time. There were no goalies. The coaches were on the field refereeing and coaching players. I thought it was a great way to learn. But my boy wouldn’t focus on the game. The next thing you know, he’d be talking to the coach of the opposing team about Pokemon or something. About halfway through the season, he simply refused to play anymore.
The following season, my #3 boy decided he wanted to play again. My wife relented and signed him up. He actually seemed to be developing well. Then after the best quarter of soccer I had ever seen him play, he came up to me and said, “Dad, I’m not going to play anymore.” It was his turn to sit out a quarter anyway. But when it was his turn to go back in, he refused. He said, “I just don’t want to play soccer anymore,” and he was serious. He did baseball for a few seasons and even tried basketball once, but he eventually decided that team sports were not for him.
My #4 son seemed to enjoy soccer, except that he detested the games eating into his Saturday morning cartoon and leisure time. He played for a few seasons, but then he decided that the game was too much of an imposition on his valuable time. He did baseball for a couple of seasons, but then he started developing problems with migraine headaches that would completely wipe him out. The headaches often came on during baseball practices or games, which were held on a shade free field. Maybe the heat had something to do with it. Anyway, he quit baseball.
My daughter has played baseball, but didn’t sign up this year. She was never as aggressive as some other girls on her soccer teams, but she has held her own. I felt like she played quite well this season. When soccer signup started a few weeks ago, however, she asked that we not register her for next season. Even after last week’s final game of the season, where she scored well, she expressed relief that she won’t be playing soccer again next season.
As I walked off the soccer field a few days ago, I realized that it was the last time I would be attending an AYSO soccer game as a parent. The next time I attend will be as a grandparent. That will likely be a number of years down the road. Despite my aversion to team sports, I have attended a lot of soccer games over the years to support my children. My wife has coached some of our children’s teams.
My wife and I are both happy that this phase is done. But oddly, it leaves me with a somewhat wistful feeling.
FIFA World Cup draw to be held in Cape Town
November 24th, 2009 HAMBURG – The Soccer City in Johannesburg will host the opening and the final match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in June. The opening match will be played June 6 and the final is slated for July 7.
The Big Five: Stadiums could become white elephants
November 24th, 2009 JOHANNESBURG – Are the new stadiums built for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, a country where football jostles with rugby and cricket for audience, destined to become white elephants after the month-long tournament?
That’s the 12.1-billion-rand, or 1.57-billion-dollar question – the cost of five new stadiums in Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit and Polokwane. The “white elephant” spectre is one that has come to haunt World Cup and Olympic Games hosts.
32 national flags are raised in South Africa to salute all World Cup qualifiers
November 19th, 2009 Flag-raising for 32 nations marks WCup milestoneJOHANNESBURG — The flags of the 32 nations that qualified for the 2010 World Cup are flying in Johannesburg. A flag-raising ceremony livened by dancers, a choir and giant soccer player puppets was held Thursday at the offices shared by World Cup organizers and South African soccer authorities next door to Soccer City, the venue that will host the opening and closing matches.
Chaos at Ambedkar Stadium for India-Syria final
August 31st, 2009 NEW DELHI – The Delhi Soccer Associations (DSA) bid to fill the Ambedkar Stadium by distributing free passes back-fired as hundreds of ticket-holders were denied entry into an already packed venue to watch the final of the ONGC Nehru Cup football between defending champions India and Syria here Monday. Though it was heartening to see some 20,000 fans pack the Ambedkar Stadium stands with seating capacity of 17,000, chaos prevailed as some 1000 fans were denied entry and police had to resort to baton charge to bring the crowd in control.
FIFA fines Ivory Coast, limits stadium capacity after 22 fans died in World Cup stampede
July 22nd, 2009 FIFA fines Ivory Coast after 22 fans died at venueZURICH — FIFA fined Ivory Coast’s soccer federation after 22 people died in a stampede at a World Cup qualifying match in March. The global governing body imposed a fine of $46,800 on Wednesday along with restrictions on the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan when it next hosts a World Cup qualifier.
FIFA fines Ivory Coast, limits stadium capacity after 22 fans die in World Cup stampede
July 22nd, 2009 FIFA fines Ivory Coast after 22 fans die at venueZURICH — FIFA has fined Ivory Coast’s soccer federation after 22 people died in a stampede at a World Cup qualifying match in March. The global governing body imposed a $46,800 fine Wednesday along with restrictions on the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.
Striking World Cup construction workers in South Africa reject wage offer; lower their demands
July 14th, 2009 WCup workers reject wage offer, but lower demandsJOHANNESBURG — Striking construction workers at 2010 World Cup stadiums have rejected an improved wage offer by employers, a union official said on Tuesday. National Union of Mineworkers negotiator Bhekani Ngcobo said workers will not accept an 11.5 percent raise offered by employers, but says the union has lowered its demand for an increase to 12 percent from 13 percent.