South Africa has been busy preparing for the soccer craze to begin. New buildings have been constructed, transportation improved and security measures heightened. It may seem like a friendly game of kick ball, but there are too many fans who take their teams and the sport extremely close to heart. There have been many dangerous brawls in soccer stadiums across the world and instances of fans being trampled to death after games. During my trip to Amsterdam last spring, I did a tour of Amsterdam Arena and home to the Ajax football club. I was amazed that opposing fans had their own separate entrance to the arena through a subway line that went directly to seating in their closed-off section. The section was completely caged in to ensure that none of them threw garbage onto the field or disrupted the game in any way.
Some players even fear their own lives when returning back to their countries after a huge loss. Yup it's true. Take for example Colombian footballer Andrés Escobar who was shot and killed when returning home to Medellin after accidentally scoring a goal on his own net in the 1994 FIFA World Cup. It was reported that his killer shouted "goal" for each of the 12 bullets fired. His mistake caused huge gambling losses to several high profile drug lords all across the country.
Unfortunately my team (Czech Republic) did not qualify for the event and I've had to make some drastic changes. Trading in my Czech jersey was not easy, but I now wear green and red with the name Ronaldo written across the back. That and my beverage selection will be adjusted to a refreshing Sagres instead of my classic Pilsner. If I'm going to cheer for a team, I'm going to go all out. I figure since my hometown is heavily Portuguese populated and my dream is to one day become the future Mrs. Cristiano Ronaldo, I might as well be more patriotic.
The first matches are as follows...
|South Africa||vs.||Mexico||-||11 Jun 10:00am (ET)|
|Uruguay||vs.||France||-||11 Jun 2:30pm (ET)|
Here's a little clip to get you in the mood!