Posts Tagged ‘2010 World Cup’

Tickets, who needs tickets?

It may be just a month away but it is not too late to pick up some tickets for the World Cup in Brazil! Admittedly, availability isn’t for the most high profile games (Japan v Greece anyone?) – but we are talking about tickets for the biggest sporting event of the year. Other matches available include Cameroon v Croatia, Ivory Coast v Japan, Uruguay v Costa Rica and Bosnia v Iran. It doesn’t look like there are too many Swiss fans travelling to Brazil, as there are tickets for all of their games still on sale against France, Honduras and Ecuador.

I already have my tickets ordered and will be heading to five games in Brazil. When I booked the tickets, it was before the draw was made last year so I was unsure what games I would be seeing. As it turned out I will get the opportunity to see such players as Cristiano Ronaldo, John Obi Mikel, Miralem Pjanic, Shinji Kagawa, Michael Essien, Arturo Vidal, Yuri Zhirkov and Tim Cahill in matches in both Cuiaba and Brasilia – that’s if those stadiums get finished in time but I’m thinking positively! I haven’t got tickets for Curitiba where as of last week there were still 27,000 seats yet to be installed in the stadium!

1998 France

Back in 1998 to order tickets for the World Cup in France there was no online internet ticket portal but it was done over the phone. Having been eliminated at the play off stage, Ireland didn’t make those finals (but the boys in green have a good shot at making the next tournament there in the expanded 24 team EURO 2016). Adidas’ advert for that World Cup, to soundtrack of Massive Attack, talked about “World Cup 98: it’s about those who love the game enough to do something about it”. That love for me was about spending 500 Francs (or about £60 of old Irish money), the cost of an expensive ticket hotline phonecall and flights to France to secure a seat for a second round match in Marseille. On a baking hot day in the Stade Velodrome, where they are finally putting a roof on the stadium 16 years later, we watched an awful game between Italy and Norway with Christian Vieiri’s 18th minute strike giving the Azzuri the win.

2002 Korea and Japan


Red Devils


I wouldn’t say I was too confident that Ireland would beat Holland in September 2001 to put themselves in the driving seat for qualification for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea but I’d already bought my tickets, via the internet, for Ireland’s games by the time that crucial qualifier took place in Lansdowne Road. A Roy Keane tackle, a McAteer strike and a Van Haal meltdown with his hourglass 4-2-4 formation and Ireland had a famous victory (see highlights here) and a play-off spot from which they would secure their passage to the World Cup.

In addition to supporting Ireland, I also purchased tickets to a couple of games in Korea. In Suwon, a few days before Ireland’s elimination to Spain on penalties, I watched eventual winners Brazil beat Costa Rica 5-2. I easily joined in the celebrations when Rivaldo and Ronaldo scored that day having backed them each way at 16/1 and 18/1 for tournament top scorers! I was also lucky to be one of very few non-Korean supporters in the stadium in Incheon when they sensationally beat Portugal 1-0 to qualify for the second round.


2006 Germany

Fast forward to 2006 and there was no Ireland in the tournament and no clear view of the pitch with my tickets, or so I thought. With tickets in high demand the only ones I could get my hands on were “obstructed view” tickets. I did have a cameraman close to my eye-line in Hamburg and that got me a 40% discounted ticket but I could clearly see that Ukraine were far superior to Saudi Arabia as they ran out 4-0 winners. With another 40% discount, my €27 ticket got me a seat in what would normally be the away section in Schalke’s stadium in Gelsenkirchen (where Ireland will play Germany later this year). I could see about 95% of the pitch clearly with the corner flag viewed through glazing topped by metal chevrons. Eventual semi-finalists Portugal beat Mexico 2-1 in an entertaining game under the closed roof while in Kaiserslautern I saw Spain beat the Saudis 1-0 in the last major tournament Spain didn’t win!




2010 South Africa

At half-time in the Stade de France in November 2009, with my Ireland team specific tickets already paid for, I could picture myself watching Ireland playing in South Africa. A Thierry Henry handball later and those dreams had died. Even the thud of FIFA returning to me several weeks later the price of Ireland tickets all the way to the final, didn’t improve my mood.


With the option of following Ireland closed off I was able to pick up some spare tickets from friends who lots and lots of tickets. Five friends had applied for three tickets each for seven games in South Africa and got them all! 185 tickets was going to cost a lot of money so after cancelling a couple of credit cards, they had 63 tickets and were looking for a few people to take some tickets off their hands and I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity.

I got to five matches in five days split between Johannesburg and Pretoria including seeing the host nation lose to Uruguay, Diego Maradona’s Argentina side play in Soccer City and Brazil beating Ivory Coast. I then picked up a local Category 4 ticket and for €15 I got to see the then reigning World Cup holders Italy get eliminated (see Four Continent Football part 3).

It is all about Brazil 2014 now though and I’m still on the look out for a ticket for the second round game in Rio so if you hear of any spares, do please let me know!

Four Continent Football: Part 3 – Africa (Italy v Slovakia)

February 19, 2012 2 comments

Italy 2 Slovakia 3, Ellis Park, Johannesburg, South Africa (24 June 2010)

There was huge disappointment with the recent postponement of the France v Ireland Six Nations game just minutes before kick off. This of course is not the first time that Irish supporters have travelled to Stade de France and have come away feeling as if they’d been cheated. Back in 2009, I stood there stunned at Ireland’s elimination from the World Cup qualification process thanks to Thierry Henry’s ‘Fagan’-like pickpocketing of Ireland.

I had always wanted to travel to South Africa and the 2010 World Cup was the great excuse to do so but I would be going now as a neutral. My disappointment at Ireland’s elimination was heightened as I already had tickets bought and paid for had Ireland qualified. However with this money refunded to me from FIFA it allowed me to buy tickets for a number of games across one week in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

I could have written about watching the host nation play Uruguay or maybe seeing South American heavyweights of Argentina or Brazil win during the World Cup but the game that sticks in my mind is the elimination of the then World Cup holder France by Slovakia.

These are two teams that Ireland fans know reasonably well. The Italians will always bring a squad bursting with household names but they were even more familiar as it was the Italians that topped the qualification group pushing Ireland into the ill-fated play-off in Paris.

The Azzurri were lucky to have avoided defeat to Ireland when Giovanni Trapattoni’s men drew 1-1 in Bari the previous year. Slovakia would end up in Ireland’s qualifying group for this summer’s European Championships but couldn’t match the expectation that their play and results in the 2010 World Cup gave them.

During my time in Johannesburg, I had stayed in a small Pension Hotel in the Sandton district of Jo’burg. All the other guests staying there were out there for the World Cup. It was great to chat with the mix of football tourists from Australia, USA, Brazil and England who were out supporting their team and also attending some other matches of interest. The Pension was also a good place to pick up tickets for games. I managed to get my hands on a Category Four locally priced ticket at face value for the Italy v Slovakia game.

Having paid top whack of in excess of US$100 each to see the other five games I was at it was nice to pay the equivalent of €14 to see the World Champions play. However €14 doesn’t exactly get you the best seat in the house so it was an awful long trek up to the second highest row in the main stand in Ellis Park. This was the venue where Nelson Mandela presented the trophy to victorious Springbok captain Francois Pienaar after the 1997 Rugby World Cup final.

Sitting beside in the nosebleed section was one of the marketing team from Nike Mexico who obviously hadn’t exactly got a prime sponsors seat. She was quite entertained when I thanked her for her country defeating Thierry Henry’s France team earlier in the competition especially when I showed her the video of the group of Irish fans celebrating their victory in a local Joburg bar.

The Italian team had lived up to there slow starters name in World Cups having drawn their opening two games. They never really got going in this final group game until they were too far behind a Slovakian team who punished their mistakes. The Slovaks took the lead half way through the first half with a goal from Robert Vittek. They double their lead with fifteen minutes to go with Vittek, the Man of the Match, scoring again nipping in front of Cannavaro to finish. It seemed Marcelo Lippi’s were going to go tamely out of the competition having drawn 1-1 in their games to date against Paraguay and New Zealand.

The last 10 minutes were as hectic a finale you are likely to see in a World Cup group game as the two teams scored four goals with each goal momentarily silencing the Vuvuzelas in the 53,000 plus crowd. With second half substitute, Andrea Pirlo pulling the strings first Italy pull a goal back from Antonio Di Natale and then think they’ve equalized but an offside flag means they haven’t. As the World Cup holders push for the equaliser though, Robert Kopunek scores to make it 3-2 to Slovakia as he latches onto a long throw to catch out the sleepy Italian defence.

Italy reduce the deficit to one as Fabio Quagliarella scores with a delicate lob over the Slovak ‘keeper. In injury time the Italians pile on the pressure seeking the equaliser that would put them through to the next round but it isn’t to be. I venture down behind the goal to collect my flag and the Slovakian team are still celebrating down there with their fans. Italy have slunk off the pitch, no doubt wary of the reception awaiting them at home. The World Champions are out and my time in Johannesburg is up. Time to head south for a few days in Cape Town before flying home from the World Cup for another four years anyway.