Bringing the FIFA World Cup to the nation of South Africa brought a first to not only the proud country, but African continent. Never had a tournament the size of the FIFA World Cup been played on the continent of Africa.
However, in doing so the nation new that they stood a chance at accomplishing another first in World Cup history, becoming the first host nation not to make the second round.
Bafana Bafana, as the South African soccer team is known as, had a tough road in order not to be the first for such a dubious distinction. France was the runner up in 2006 and the frontrunner for the group; Mexico had made it to the second round the last four Cups; and 2-time champion Uruguay would be no easy game either.
South Africa started strong by playing Mexico to a 1-1 draw in the opening game of the tournament. It was the loss to Uruguay by the score of 3-0 that would end of being the nail in the coffin though.
Like South Africa, Mexico would end the opening round with a victory, a draw, and a loss. South Africa would lose the tiebreaker, goals allowed, by 5-2.
South America’s success in the group was not a big surprise, but what no one would have figured was the horrendous performance that the French would turn in. There really is not too much that can be said about these guys except way to figure into the international stereotype of being gutless cowards and losers. I don’t care what the coach or anyone in the organization did to upset the players. The team will move on in the end by simply cutting these embarrassments, and finding players that have enough pride in themselves and their nation to persevere through whatever difficulties there may be to at least turn in a respectable performance (be it in victory or defeat).
Instead these guys were so self-centered that they blew an opportunity to shine on a truly international stage. After being defeated by the host nation, 2-1, the coach could not be bothered to shake the opposing coach’s hand. Talk about shameful. Now the nation will have to wait another four years before it can rid itself of such a national embarrassment.
In the end, the National Federation got the last laugh on the pitiful French soccer team. They cancelled the posh, first class return flight for the team and made them ride coach for the roughly 20 hour trip; should have made ‘em swim.
Beer: Castle Lager from the good people at South African Breweries plc in Johannesburg, South Africa- out of respect for the South African team it is only appropriate to profile a beer from the company that sponsors the team.
Castle Lager was originally brewed over 100 years ago to quench the thirst of gold prospectors that had worked hard all day in the hot sun. To do that they came up with a beer that is a little crisp when you drink it with a slightly bitter taste that never comes up sweet. At just 5% ABV it will take a few of these to turn you into a rabid soccer fan!