What a great season for Landon Donovan. Idolised on Merseyside at Goodison Park by Everton fans and now leading his Stars and Stripes into the last 16 with a dramatic 92nd minute winner at Loftus over a spunky bunch of Algerians.
After 2 days on Rovos Rail 'Pride of Africa' from Cape Town I checked back into my suite at the Victoria Hotel and took the free Metro train to Loftus station in less than 10 minutes. Looking again for a bargain outside the stadium. One local tried to sell a category 4 $15.00 ticket for $100.00. You must be joking. Again outside there were the Swiss Girly Boys from La Valais, probably friends and cronies of the hapless Philippe Blatter of FIFA Match Organization, who have screwed the world at this tournament. A German newspaper calls them The Conspiracy of Cousins.
Here comes one of them with two thick stacks of hospitality tickets in concertinas with face value of $500.00 plus. They are truly rogues. Also before you see all the little black children at the stadiums march out with flags and then holding hands with the players, why are they always led out by a WHITE Swiss Girly Boy with names such as Jean-Paul, Michel, Francois and Philippe???I waited until 10 minutes before kick-off and bought a Cat.1 ticket face, value $160.00 US, for $60.00.
Great view in the midst of fans in green, white and red face paint and bedecked in flags and hats chanting ALGERIE, ALGERI!!.for The Desert Foxes. Just above me in the V.I.P. area where I have sat a couple of times at PSL league matches was Bill Clinton with Sepp Blatter-near the pitch but too far from heaven, for both of them!. Both teams played open attractive attacking soccer, ably officiated by a Belgian Frank De Bleeckere who was like his local beers-classic and smooth.
USA had the edge and were playing like a clockwork machine for the most part, always linking up and knowing where their team mates would be. The defence has a class act ably supported by the safe hands of Tim Howard. Donovan was an inspiration and when it seemed that all was lost, 4 minutes of added time went up from the 4th official. It was a fairy tale Hollywood ending and Landon took off at speed from inside his own half, gave the ball to Joze Altidore whose shot was parried into the greedy path of the American Idol and GOOOOOOOOAL !!!! Three points, and bedlam as American fans, substitutes and the early morning breakfast audience across the Atlantic savoured the moment.
Ghana, the best of the woeful African nations at this tournament await them in the desert at Rustenburg's Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Sunday afternoon, where I need to go and check up on the fate of the herd of royal goats that I met last time..