It seems more like a party than a soccer match at Ellis Park today. The stadium in downtown Jo-burg is surrounded for miles by jubilant South Africans in an array of their national colors (they have plenty to choose from on their rainbow flag). An hour and a half to game time though, and the stadium is still about half empty, and filling slowly. Still, the homemade horns and colorful outfits and chanting of the crowd, combined with the steep design of the seating here make it seem full already. I can't wait to see how the crowd reacts when South Africa and Iraq take the field in about an hour.
I took the opportunity today to run up the road to Rustenburg to catch the press conference of the Spanish national team, and a bit of their training. I can say what I saw for an hour or so watching the Spanish side train was incredible. They spent the first forty-five minutes playing a ten v. ten game of of keep away in a 30x20 box, and the decision making is so crisp and clear on all levels, it blows the mind. I think our youth coaches should watch a tape of Spanish training sessions before they even begin to train kids. If six-year olds were playing in tight spaces instead of full sided scrimmages weed be in better shape soon. But that is redundant by now.