South Africa vs. Mexico
Truly the dullest opening match in my memory. No upsets, no good football. Sloppy stagnant stuff, not to mention the maddening drone of the “vuvuela,” one invention that I wish I’d never heard of. When the crowd caught its collective breath, one was subjected to the asinine commentary of American television (we switched back and forth between Univisión and ESPN). What stands true from this first match is one thing: the MUTE button shall be my best friend this summer.
National Anthem Rating
These are certainly not going to make it out of the group stage. Both were rather flat and forgettable. While the Mexican one was accompanied by their national salute–a dark-army karate chop to the chest held taught through its duration–even this touch of implicit malevolence was scarcely enough to make it memorable. Both teams seemed confused as to the actual lyrics of their respective hymns–though that might just have been the vuvuzelas drowning out the band
Politically Correct Team Pick for Good Honest Liberals
Certainly, this will prove to be one of the closest calls of the tournament. Two nations with much in common: rampant corruption, a severe divide between wealthy minorities and vastly poor masses, histories of official and de facto racial segregation. The focus in the news has been on the violent crime in South Africa these days; notwithstanding, Mexico is not to be outdone in that department, with news pouring in from south of the American border of daily atrocities. We’ll call this one a draw.