World cup final
By: Moises Linares
It’s the day of the World Cup Final and all of Johannesburg is counting down the hours before the game. Fans from all over the world start making their way to Soccer City Stadium.
Massive waves of orange on one side and waves of red on the other start coming together. For a minute all you can see is a street with orange and red and nothing else.
As you walk, you can see fans from both countries carrying their flags and waving them in the air. It’s the biggest day of the tournament. South Africa will witness a new champion.
Making it inside the stadium to watch the game seems merely impossible, as you won’t find a ticket for less then one thousand dollars. For everyone without a ticket the best option is the fan fest. In this occasion I had to join the fan fest festivities.
The location I visited was next to ‘Nelson Mandela Square’ in Sandton, 20 minutes from Soccer City stadium. As I make my way to the fan fest, I meet some local kids that are heading the same way. I asked them whom they were rooting for and they answered “we just want a good game.” In the end it is what everyone wants from Spain and the Netherlands.
We enter the fan fest that is already packed with a few thousand people enjoying the concert by a band called ‘Watershed.’ To the rhythm of good music, the crowd at the festival is starting to explode in euphoria, the cheers resemble a stadium at full capacity.
In a matter of seconds, the festival is almost at capacity with close to 15 thousand people in attendance. Everyone is focused on the giant big screen Television, when all of a sudden Nelson Mandela or better-known ‘Madiba’ appears. The crowd goes nuts and thousands rise to their feet to chant his name.
I stand as well and join in the chant of a man that has changed what this country (South Africa) is today. Chills run down my spine and I notice how big of a hero this man is to this country. Black and white united and cheering the presence of ‘Madiba’ in the biggest sporting event in the world.
After a while everyone sits down and the big game begins. It’s the moment everyone has been waiting for all week. Holland versus Spain, it’s finally here and the thousand in attendance are enjoying it to the fullest.
The anxieties start running high as each team starts creating a few clear chances to score. It was incredible to see ‘Dutch’ fans and ‘Spaniards’ sitting side-by-side enjoying the big final together. The clock starts to tick and the score remains the same and without goals. After 90 minutes we are heading to over time for the second world Cup in a row.
Everything seems to indicate we are going to witness another penalty shoot out in a final. When all of a sudden FC Barcelona star Andres Iniesta receives a ball in the box and finishes the match. A great goal and a great ending to match that will be remembered, 1-0 Spain is victorious. The country with the best football is victorious and the fan fest exploded in ecstasy when Howard Webb blew the final whistle.
There were hugs and kisses everywhere, chants of “Spain, Spain” as people jumped out of joy. History was made as Spain finally conquered their first World Cup after 19 tournaments and a lot of disappointments.
South Africa brought the best in Spain and the people loved it. The fan fest was merely a reflection of what was going on in Soccer City Stadium. Yet South Africa closed the night with a new World Cup champion and the people closed it with a lot of celebration. This marks the end of the World Cup in South Africa and the official countdown to Brazil 2014.
From Johannesburg Moises Linares signing off.