Monday, April 26, 2010

The Matches No One Wants to See

Happens at every World Cup. Tickets for certain matches are available ... for a long time.

Maybe forever.

All 64 matches may be declared sellouts, but if you go see X number of the less glamorous matches in person, you see the empty seats. An accounting trick: "Tickets sold," but not to people who plan to use them. Have the groundskeepers get the tarps ready for the end zones.

So, which nations can expect some wide open spaces in the stands when they play at South Africa 2010?

Here are the five group-play matches for which tickets remain at every price level. (Information courtesy of the Johannesburg Times.) And, no, North Korea is not on the list!

--Algeria vs. Slovenia in Polokwane. Comment: What? A poor North African country vs. a tiny Balkan country most of the world doesn't know from Slovakia? You can't sell that out?

--Honduras vs. Chile in Nelspruit. Comment: Wait, a poor Central American country against a South American country so skinny you can spit from the Argentina border into the Pacific Ocean? You can't sell that out? Probably, like, 100 people from Nicaragua will be in South Africa. You still can be the team mascot if you can afford the serape.

--Chile vs Switzerland in Port Elizabeth. Comment: What is with all the hating on Chile? They just had a 9.9-magnitude earthquake, people. Can't some church groups show up and cheer for the plucky survivors? And I know the problem with Switzerland: Everybody feels neutral about them.

--Australia vs. Serbia in Nelspruit. Comment: Wow. I thought that Southern Hemisphere cricket/rugby solidarity thing mattered. But no. South Africans won't see the Aussies play? Could be Serbia be part of the problem. What about the enormous Serbian community in Nelspruit? You know, that family that is always at the mosque? Oh, those are Bosnians?

--Paraguay vs. New Zealand in Polokwane. Comment: Hello? Southern Hemisphere solidarity? A cruel joke. And Paraguay is part of the problem. Quick, name one city or one player from Paraguay! Time's up! Answer: Asuncion ... and The Guy Who Got Shot in the Bar in Mexico. OK, then, how about a shout out for Polokwane? Wouldn't you pay to see anybody play there? Polokwane, anyone?

Anyway ... tickets remain available for these five matches. Lots of them. Pretty much anywhere you want to sit. Better hurry. Or not.

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