Posted: 6/25/2009


        Fourty years ago  Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, 'One step for man, one giant leap for mankind'. and the eagle had landed.

        Are you listening in Spain: Fernando Alonso, Sev. Ballesteros, Antonio Banderas, Jose Carreras, Charo, Miguel de Cervantes, Hernan Cortez, Penelope Cruz, Salvador Dali, Placido Dominguez, Francisco Franco, Sergio Garcia, Antoni Gaudi, Francisco Goya, Isabella of Castille, King Juan Carlos I, Julio Iglesias, Joan Miro, Rafael Nadal, Pablo Picasso, Francisco Pizarro, Diego Valasquez.....!!

      The United States, terrible in their first two matches, and surprise qualifiers for the Confederations Cup Semi-Final, shocked the world, sunk the Spanish Armada, and ended their impressive unbeaten run of 3 years and 35 matches at Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein in the High Velt. They will play either favourites Brazil or hosts South Africa in the final on Sunday evening at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, their first ever final in a major international tournament.

      The Spaniards went into the match as European Champions and clear favourites. They started out by having a group photo with their opponents to SAY NO TO RASCISM, and hummed La Marcha Real ( Royal March), their hymno nacional, the national anthem that doesn't have any words!  Well, at the end of the match they were SPEECHLESS !!

      USA 1 v England 0, Belo Horizonte 1950; North Korea 1 v Italy 0, Middlesborough 1966 are two other famous results, although the present USA team is ranked 14th in the world.  They played really well, with a solid backline and the true grit spirit normally shown by American teams. There was another stella performance from the coach's son Michael Bradley, and the second coming of captain Landon Donovan, with the strength of Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore, the 19 year old toro who plays in the Spanish League for Villareal-occasionally. 

       Dempsey comes from the wrong side of the tracks in Nacogdoches, East Texas, where his family lived in a trailer park, and now plays for Fulham, and obviously lacks a razor. Jay DeMerit, ex Univ Illinois,Chicago, and Oguchi Onyewa who plays for Belgian champions Standard Liege, plus heroics from goalie Tim Howard of Everton F.C. stemmed attack after attack.

      It was fun to watch the smiling, dancing, singing, vuvuzela blowing crowd enjoying the match despite freezing temperatures. It will be the first World Cup played in the winter months since Argentina 1978, where I remember enjoying the sunshine and matches in Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Menzoza, and can't remember it being cold, although when I took the bus over the Andes from Mendoza to Santiago in Chile, there was snow at the high pass where I got off the bus for passport control at the border.  Will there be yet another surprise from Bafana ! Bafana! tonight?