SA World Cup attendance outstrips Germany

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Johannesburg - After 11 matches, spectator attendance to Africa's first FIFA World Cup is slightly higher than that of Germany in 2006, figures released by FIFA on Tuesday showed.

Since the start of the tournament, South Africa has recorded an average attendance of 53 019 while Germany stood at 52 019 for the same period.

This is as nearly as high as the figures recorded after the 1994 World Cup in the United States of America. FIFA spokesperson Nicols Maingot said what the statistics say is that for every match so far, more than 53 000 people attended a game.

"These are good attendance figures because the last time we recorded nearly similar figures was back in 1994," Maingot said. The only difference is that stadiums in the US have a bigger capacity as compared to South Africa's.

However, the number of goals scored in this year's showpiece is lower than any other scored in previous World Cup events. Only 18 goals have been scored after 11 games. This has fueled criticism that the first African World Cup could be regarded as "boring".

But Maingot said the real goal average will only be reflected after the tournament. "It would be very wrong for people to make conclusive decisions now. Let's wait until the end of all 64 games," he said. At least 37 yellow cards and four red cards had been issued since the start of the tournament on 11 June.

Meanwhile, none of the teams playing in different fixtures today have met before - a rare fact in World Cup history.

New Zealand, who are making their return to football's flagship event following a 28-year absence, will meet Slovakia in Rustenburg in a Group F clash. This is only the second time in their history that Slovakia has come up against an Oceanian team. Slovakia is the only team appearing in the World Cup for the first time. The last two European sides to make their debuts in the tournament each lost their maiden matches.

Another match that will promise to produce fireworks is that of Cote d'Ivoire and Portugal in Port Elizabeth. This will be Portugal's 20th match in a FIFA World Cup. They are on an unbeaten run of 15 matches. Portugal last lost 6-2 to Brazil on 19 November 2008. Their longest unbeaten run (19 matches) was ended by France at the 2006 World Cup semi-final.

Cote d'Ivoire on the other hand, have a favourable record against UEFA nations, having chalked up five wins and five draws in 14 matches, although not fewer than 13 if those took place on European soil.

The showdown with Portugal this afternoon is only their second meeting against the European opposition on the African continent, nearly 27 years since the Elephants' 1-nil victory over Switzerland in Abidjan on 2 December 1983.

Brazil and Korea DPR at Ellispark Stadium tonight is the first encounter between the two sides at senior level. They have squared up twice in the FIFA U-17 World Cup. On each occasion the South Americans have had their beating of the Chollima, winning 3-1 after extra time in the quarter finals of 2005 and 6-1 in the 2007 edition.

Brazil have scored four goals in both of their both of their encounters against Asian sides at the FIFA World Cup recording 4-nil against China in 2002 and 4-1 against Japan in 2006. Kick-off is at 8:30pm