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Friday kickaround

My alarm clock was no match for vuvuzelas this morning. The sun had yet to rise in Johannesburg, when the wail of plastic horns stirred the city from its brief slumber. South Africa's World Cup moment has arrived.

This is my fifth tournament. USA '94 and South Korea/Japan '02 offered new frontiers. France '98 and Germany '06 took us back to soccer's roots. Today we begin a month-long journey in a young democracy, inspired by a historic leader, who, on the eve of the opening match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico at Soccer City, was struck by a terrible family tragedy. Already uncertain about his presence at the match because of his frailty, the great man will not attend.

Post colleague Liz Clarke sets the scene (accompanied by video). Here are Page 1 images of the news and sports sections.

Meantime, in USA-England circles, New York Daily News columnist Filip Bondy takes a poke at the English in a cheeky column published by London's Evening Standard.

D.C. United is unbeaten in five straight (all competitions) heading into MLS's World Cup break? It's true.

Liz is at the opening match. I am heading to Rustenburg for USA activities ahead of Saturday's match.

Much more to come.....

By Steve Goff  |  June 11, 2010; 6:15 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , D.C. United , England , South Africa , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: D.C. United, MLS, Nelson Mandela, USA-England, World Cup  
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The Daily show video was brilliant.

I missed most of the United game last night because I have to get up a 5 am now but glad we won. Hopefully, we can make a push, or maybe even sign a DP.

Excited for the openining game today. I got Mexico 3-0.

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 11, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

The last line of the Bondy column seems a potential rallying cry.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 11, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

I can't belive the kickoff of the 2010 world cup is only 2:30 hours away. My work production today will be at an all time low.

One day I will be able to turn on the radio and hear pre-game analysis leading up to the opening match. For now I'll deal with analysis of Leonsis's takeover of the Wizards and a recap of game 4 from the NBA finals. Blargh.

Posted by: wanker82 | June 11, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

that column is great and so are all of the comments after it

Posted by: fedssocr | June 11, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Semi-off topic, but is Castillo basically done with DC United? Did I miss something on this?

For me the idiotic two-footed tackle in the Colorado game (I think it was that one) suggested that something was not quite right. And his attitude in generally seemed to be really off for the games I went to.

Posted by: M__N | June 11, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

wanker, I had to listen to the predictable rants that soccer doesn't matter in the US.

Posted by: Reignking | June 11, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

SA looking weak. very, very nervous.

Posted by: birdynumnum | June 11, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Interesting comments from former DCU trialist Drew Yates:

“I told (Rowdies coach) Paul (Dalglish) when I came down here that training at D.C. was pretty lackluster, especially compared to this,” Yates said. “It wasn’t really that intense, it was short and I came down here and we had two-hour practices and the intensity was 100 percent all the time. It took me a while to get used to, especially in this heat.”

Posted by: addick | June 11, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Goffinho, you're sounding a bit like Donovan from earlier this week: "I am prepared for this moment". Insider loyalists will of course be hanging on your every word (and parsing a few of them here and there). Viva!

Posted by: BaltoFan | June 11, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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