2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa: Play Ball!

True confessions time: I'm probably the least-knowledgable person on the Travel Agent staff when it comes to football or soccer, or any sport other than baseball. (And even then, I sometimes find myself asking my friends, "Did Derek Jeter just score a touchdown?")

But after two weeks in South Africa last month, and after touring the brand-new Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban, it's impossible not to get caught up in World Cup fever now. Even I'm paying attention and getting excited about the games, and about what they mean to South Africa as a nation. For the next month, the whole world will be watching the country's major cities and towns and getting a taste of this gorgeous country— some of them, possibly, for the first time. With luck, the games will spark more interest in tourism and bring a whole new generation to a place they never thought they'd visit.

So, who is this decidedly un-soccer-savvy traveler cheering for in the games? Well, the U.S., naturally, but having just come back from Australia, I wouldn't be too sad if the Socceroos took home the trophy. But how wonderful would it be if an African nation won the World Cup at the very first games to be played on African soil?

Pretty wonderful.

Here are some pictures of Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban, where Germany will play Australia on Sunday; and—from a distance—of the new Cape Town Stadium, where Uruguay will play France today.

 

Cape Town Stadium

Cape Town Stadium

 

 

Moses Mabhida Stadium

Moses Mabhida Stadium

 

 

Moses Mabhida Stadium Interior

Inside the Moses Mabhida Stadium

 

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