South Africa’s World Cup ambiance: Bees!!! I mean the vuvuzela.

While watching the biggest game in U.S. soccer history during a Lions Club party at Far Bar (they never let me down because they always let me in) I couldn’t help but wonder what the strange background noise was throughout the broadcast. At first I thought the nice grandma next to me had fainted into her Wasabi Fries, but thanks to Martin Rogers at Yahoo! Sports I now know (psst…you can hear for yourself in Rogers’ article), and dread its upcoming World Cup preponderance:

If you’re still not familiar with the term, the vuvuzela is the instrument that provides that horrendous droning, foghorn-like sound that has assaulted eardrums as a constant accompaniment to coverage of the World Cup warmup event. And you haven’t heard the last of it.

The vuvuzela is seen as an integral part of the soccer-watching experience in South Africa and FIFA has already given the green light to its use in next year’s World Cup finals. That could mean a month’s worth of mind-numbing horn blowing as the musical backdrop to the greatest tournament in soccer.

Something clearly needs to be done — but without offending the South African people or interfering with their proud traditions.

Agreed. Goodness gracious, is this the sound I’m going to have to listen to for the 20-some games I’ll watch next summer? I know it’s a different culture over there and we always need to be respectful of the traditions of others, but oh man, it’s like playing a match in a bee hive. I hope the droves of new viewers in America of the next World Cup aren’t turned away from the sport when they hear it for 3 hours.

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U.S. to meet Brazil in Confederations Cup finals


Spain’s national team, the No. 1-ranked professional soccer team in the world, had been unbeaten a world-record-tying 35 games in a row. They had also won a world-record-tying 15 games in a row. But then they met the United States in the 2009 Confederations Cup. They met the Americans and the Americans beat them. This is the same U.S. National team that has never won a World Cup, a Confederations Cup, or made any FIFA records of considerable note. Nevertheless, they outplayed their Spanish opponents on Wednesday, defeating them 2-0 in front of a shocked South African crowd.

Although Spain outshot the U.S. 18-9, nothing could get by goalkeeper Tim Howard who was solid the entire game. Goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey were enough to propel the U.S. into the finals.

Now the Americans will face Brazil, a team they have only beaten once in national competition. Earlier today, Brazil defeated South Africa 1-0 in a hard fought contest. But just because Brazil is in yet another final does not mean they are unstoppable. It took 88 minutes for Brazil to score, when Daniel Alves knocked a direct kick into the net against a highly underrated South African squad.

Although the ripple effect may, unfortunately, not be as large here in the U.S., the fact that Spain’s national team was beaten buy a bunch of Americans is making news around the world. Nobody, and I mean nobody, expected this to happen. I didn’t, sports critics didn’t, the handful of American soccer fans didn’t, Spain didn’t, and even the irritating ESPN2 commentators didn’t (it’s OK to show a tad bit of nationalism, you bozos).

Jim Rome was right in his telecast today: this victory won’t put U.S. soccer on the map. Still, it’s amazing.

You can watch the U.S play Brazil in the Cofederations Cup final on Sunday at 11 AM on ESPN.

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