2010 FIFA World Cup: Uruguay's Suarez Is No Cheat, PE Hosts The World

Andrew McNairSenior Writer IJuly 8, 2010

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 02:  Luis Suarez of Uruguay is sent off after handling the ball on the goal line during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Quarter Final match between Uruguay and Ghana at the Soccer City stadium on July 2, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

It was a great honour for Port Elizabeth to host the Brazil vs. Holland quarterfinal game, and I was delighted to be a part of it. My home city of ten years had never seen anything so big.

However, there is something surreal about attending a football match, or for that matter, any sporting event as huge as a World Cup quarterfinal.


Brazil vs. The Netherlands

Just imagine two entire nations with their eyes glued not on you, but on where you are.

A match that meant so much to so many people, yet I wasn’t too bothered by who won.

I was just the lucky guy who got to witness it live, along with a few thousand members of each country’s population.

And as usual, many of those fans gathered, as has become a tradition, at Chalees for what is almost a meet and greet ahead of the day's big game. All day boozing in upper-20-degree-Celsius heat, though, is not something I’d recommend to everyone, mind you.

Some people just cannot stand the pace, after all.

Maybe that is why the Dutch fans all met at the fan zone and marched together to the stadium (a good 5km walk), avoiding the famous street party and walking down another road to the ground, meaning we never got a glimpse of the thousands of orange clad supporters.

I suppose it just meant all the more beer for me.

In the stadium, the atmosphere matched the England v Slovenia game for support and colour. A sea of tangerine and yellow greet the two teams before the best comeback of the South African World Cup.

The crowd was honestly stunned to see Brazil throw away their early lead over the Dutch, in a match I’d hardly say lived up to its billing.

Brazil had nothing in the second half; no answers, no desire, and in the end, no resultwhich wasn’t very good for my coupon for the day, but it did shut a few people up on the Bleacher Report.

Brazil may not be centre of the football world after all.


Suarez did nothing wrong

The other thing which bothered me during the quarterfinals was the criticism of Uruguayan striker Suarez.

The Ajax man was the player who stopped Ghana’s late extra-time strike with his hand on the line before the African side missed their penalty and eventually lost the tie, ironically on penalties.

All I have read on Facebook is people slamming him for his actions.

I just don’t get it, as I know nobody who plays football who wouldn’t have tried to stop that shot by any means possible. It is simply part of the game.

The people complaining are showing themselves to know nothing about football. He got his punishment, Ghana squandered their golden chance.

It is as simple as that.

Where were the South Africans when Suarez won countless free-kicks, falling over basically untouched, against Bafana Bafana?

I didn’t hear any complaints, despite my pointing out that this is also bending the rules way beyond most people’s liking.


Final weekend

So, the favourite’s Holland and Spain have managed to negotiate their way to the final. Probably the first round where all the fancied sides have prospered.

That is Sunday, but I have managed to get a ticket for the third-place playoff between Uruguay and Germany here in Port Elizabeth at the Nelson Mandela Stadium on Saturday night.

It will be my eighth and last match of the tournament. Not a bad innings at a major tournament, and I hope for a classic to finish off a great World Cup.

I’ll be back early next week to describe all my adventures from the final two days of South Africa 2010.




Andrew McNair has written for broadcasting giants Setanta and Fox Sports as well as Scottish newspapers the Evening Times and Sunday Herald. If you have any questions about the 2010 World Cup or this blog you can contact him at scotinsa@hotmail.com. If you enjoy his work you can join his group at http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=35412076250. He will writing on an almost daily basis for the duration of the 2010 World Cup from South Africa. Previous editions of the blog can be found on this website.