Posted: 6/22/2009


      WHAT A FINISH !! who would have believed that USA would qualify for the semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup with a 3-0 victory in Rustenburg against Egypt, while Brazil beat World Champions Italy 3-0 by the same score in Johannesburg.  The bald New Zealand referee Michael Hester, a naval officer from Auckland, almost screwed it up by denying a penalty for the Yanks after a clear hand ball on the goal line.  Forget that trip to the WC Finals next year mate, and take that trip to the Southern Alps for bungie jumping, snowboarding and hiking in Queenstown!

      Remember the USA victory over the USSR at the Olympics ice hockey a while ago, or wins for Manchester United or Liverpool in Champions League Finals?  Well, this match had it all. I once wrote a blog  6/29/07:THE SHAME OF GIJON, about a match in that Northern Spanish port city on 25th June, 1982 between West Germany and Austria at FIFA World Cup 1982, which I attended, when after Horst Hrubesch scored in the 10th minute, they played out a 1-0 match which knocked out Algeria, whose match had finished earlier, and they both advanced.  After that charade FIFA decided that all final matches in opening rounds should kick-off at the same time, in the same group.

      The locals were blowing their VUVUZELA's at will, regardless of the match and the score, but that's alright by me.  Everyone can afford one. I have a yellow and black Kaizer Chiefs one, and a black and white Orlando Pirates version.  They developed from the Kudo horn, which made lots of noise. "A baboon is killed by a lot of noise" is the saying. They are blown more and more towards the end of a match to kill off the opposition.  has the sound if you want to hear it.

      BBC TV's fairly boring commentator Lee Dixon says they should be banned, as do other minor journalists. LET AFRICA MAKE AN AFRICAN NOISE, is my my feelings.  Much worse is the danger of robbery and violence. Already the Egyptians were robbed in their hotel and 4 English fans, just arrived for the British and Irish Lions rugby tour, were robbed at gunpoint and had their rental car and all their luggage and valuables stolen not long after arriving at the Oliver Tambo Airport near Johannesburg.

       Brazil v South Africa (who will play in yellow jerseys?) and USA v Spain are the semi-finals on Wednesday and Thursday in Johannesburg and Bloemfontain.

       Up on the west coast of Sweden, Germany and England played out a 1-1 draw in front of a full stadium to qualify for the semi-finals of the UEFA U21 Finals at the Orjans Vall stadium in Halmstad on the banks of the Nissan River, although the tournament's auto sponsor is KIA cars.  My only visit to the pleasant stadium was for a friendly, Sweden v Iceland in July 1980.  The two other semi-finalists will be decided in the other group tonight.  The German coach of their U21's is the same Horst Hrubesch of Gijon shame!!!