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While Johannesburg sleeps .....

With a six-hour time difference between South Africa and the eastern U.S., I am fast asleep when the final whistle, buzzer, horn or out call sounds at American sporting events. Upon waking on this 43-degree morning in Johannesburg, I shoveled some coal into the trusty Internet machine and learned that:

*D.C. United won its third straight home game since I shifted to full-time U.S. national team coverage. Message received loud and clear, lads. After the World Cup, I'll hang out here, search Kruger National Park for the Big Five, drop a few Rand at Sun City and become better acquainted with the sharks (no, not Jack Warner).

*FIFA, take note: In what surely was the most heartbreaking and infuriating end to a bid for a perfect game in baseball history, an umpire made an undeniably bad call on a routine play with two outs in the ninth inning. What followed the game was extraordinary: Realizing his error, teary-eyed ump Jim Joyce went to the Detroit clubhouse, apologized to pitcher Armando Galarraga and then explained himself to the media. Perhaps Sepp and the Zurich crew could learn from this incident and make match officials available for comment after international games. (Don't count on it.)

*Juan Pablo Angel is a pretty good footballer: free kick, 30-plus yards, referee ready to end the match ... goal! New York Red Bulls 2, Houston Dynamo 1.

*Bobby Convey, who four years ago was preparing to start in a World Cup, is emerging as one of MLS's productive players after a forgettable return to the league last year. He earned his seventh assist -- second behind Landon Donovan among MLS leaders -- during the San Jose Earthquakes' 2-2 draw with the Columbus Crew.

Looking ahead.....

In the latest dispatches from The Post's foreign service, Edward Cody explores France's World Cup chances and Les Bleus' tumultuous build-up -- on and off the pitch; and Keith Richburg looks at China's soccer shortcomings.

World Cup tuneups:
Spain-South Korea in Vienna noon ET, ESPN Deportes
Italy-Mexico in Brussels 1 p.m. Telemundo
Germany-Bosnia in Frankfurt 2:30 p.m. GolTV

By Steve Goff  |  June 3, 2010; 2:07 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , China , D.C. United , FIFA , France , MLS  | Tags: China, D.C. United, FIFA, Johannesburg, Les Bleus, MLS, South Africa, World Cup  
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Next: Mandela to attend World Cup opener


Onalfo will be happy to cancel your return ticket Goff. Might save his job ;-)

So what is the atmosphere like there? Getting to be party time yet?

Was checking out the groups and are C and D the two weakest pairings?

Posted by: WOW9 | June 3, 2010 3:02 AM | Report abuse

I could get used to this post time. Gives me something new to read before work. Keep up the always great work, Mr. Goff.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 3, 2010 3:59 AM | Report abuse

Dang, our friends told us to expect a Bay Area style winter when we arrive next week.

Not very.....

Posted by: DCUSince96 | June 3, 2010 6:49 AM | Report abuse

World Cup tuneups:
Spain-South Korea in Vienna noon ET, ESPN Deportes
Italy-Mexico in Brussels 1 p.m. Telemundo
Germany-Bosnia in Frankfurt 2:30 p.m. GolTV

Seems strange that so many teams are still in Europe. You would think that Mexico would already be in in South Africa since they are in the first game, which is less than one week away.

Posted by: Southeasterner | June 3, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse

I think a lunchtime trip to Lucky Bar is in order today.
Awesomeness from Juan Pablo.

Posted by: nairbsod | June 3, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Who knew Goff was a clubhouse cancer? :)

Posted by: JHopper2 | June 3, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little bit surprised all of these WC teams are playing each other right before the tournament. Has it always been this way and I just don't remember it? Or is that they are all available on TV now that makes them more visible?

Posted by: fedssocr | June 3, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Reignking | June 3, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Too bad it took Convey so long to get back on form. He has been playing lights out on the wing in San Jose and he actually plays defense now too! Would feel much more confident with him in South Africa than DaMarcus Beasley.

Posted by: DCU_VW | June 3, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

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