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Paraguay gets ahead of Italy

14/06/2010: World Cup Fever – Italy versus Paraguay at Green Point stadium 

This time we drove into town. The public transport experience for the last game had not turned out so great: Metrorail had let us wait for almost an hour to finally get a move on. After such a fantastic day, you simply don’t want it to get spoiled by the unwillingness of Metrorail to do their part for a smoothly running Word Cup.

Traffic was ok, as it had been a gloomy and drizzly day. We passed the official Fan Fest and it was dead empty. It was raining heavily now. But we kept our spirits up: Rather let it rain now while we’re sitting snugly in the car.

Indeed it had stopped by the time we were in walking distance of the stadium. I don’t know how, but despite all the crowds out and about we managed to meet up with our friends.

Walking the Fan Mile we lost them all again, but we didn’t mind: We all had different seats anyway and had made plans to meet up after the game again.

I tried my best to relay to my friend how great the Fan Mile was just three days ago. Now it was just the most straight-forward track to get to the stadium quickly. No music, no bands, no skipping or other games by the side of the road. At least the Coons were coming our way, which made me smile like seeing a good old friend.

The same chaos as last time greeted us at the main circle by Green Point stadium, but this time we were swiftly directed a different way and getting through the metal detectors was quick and easy. We had to walk around the stadium to get to our block and then up all flights of stairs to get to our seats. At least we were nicely warmed up after that.

We sat right beneath the roof. The view was as fantastic as ever, but this time we could also see a close-up of the structure of the stadium. If that had been engineered so well was questionable though when it started raining and the best seats got drenched. We were glad to sit sheltered.

All that was bothering us was the wind, which seemed to have shock frozen the entire audience: Where a Mexican wave had made its way round at the beginning of the game, just a few minutes in and people were very reluctant to move, let alone stand up.

Maybe that is what happened to the players as well, as the game was dragging along. Italy as the current World Champions disappointed in their performance. But then again, Paraguay – having beaten Brazil in the qualifying for the World Cup – were just doing a great job fending them off. And even better, as the first goal was theirs.

We were lucky to sit right behind it and saw all the action, and again in the second half when Italy scored on par with Paraguay.

We had made best use of the interval by running down and up the stairs for my friend to have a cigarette, as there’s strictly no smoking inside the stadium. Still, the cold crept into our bones, making us wonder once more why oh why the World Cup was held during winter in South Africa.

Somewhat relieved the big freeze would be over when the game finished at another boring draw, we moved swiftly out of the stadium with not much delay besides people moving at snail’s pace. Somehow magically we met our friends again on our way to finally warming up: the Buena Vista Social.

They had kindled a lovely fire inside and some big tents with heaters outside to keep the masses warm. Yet they were not prepared enough as they ran out of drinks quickly. Just as well, as the warmest place after such a cold night out in the open is still a cosy bed.

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