By Jonathan Powell
BEIJING, June 21 (Xinhuanet) -- What a shock it was for the traveling England fans on Friday night in Cape Town. In the buildup to the Algeria game they turned the city's popular waterfront area into party central, leading a carnival of singing and dancing that made the match seem like a mere sideshow.
|Soccer fans of England (Xinhua Photo)|
In the stands at the fantastic Green Point Stadium there was an electric atmosphere as the teams came out and fans belted out the national anthem.
Those around me made their feelings clear about what should be done with those irritating and ubiquitous plastic trumpets.
"You can stick your vuvuzelas up your arse," they sang to the tune of "she'll be coming round the mountain."
The mood was optimistic, and no one predicted what was coming next. The vibe changed as it became quickly apparent England were off message. Anger and frustration were followed by resignation, and at final whistle there was a stunned silence before the booing rained down.
Upset England fans shared their opinions as they nursed hangovers with bloody marys back at the waterfront on Saturday. Most still believe the team will qualify, which seems unrealistic based on the evidence so far.
"What is maddening is that all of us can see the team selection and formation is wrong, but Fabio Capello is too stubborn to make any changes, or he just doesn't trust some of the players to do what he says," said Andy Bates, a builder from Blackpool.
South Africans are also convinced that England are destined to go through.
There was serious debate in the lobby at the Oria Guest House the morning after the game.
Isaac Oria, the owner, said this is the most unpredictable World Cup he can remember. "England must beat Slovenia - it would be oblivion for them if they were are eliminated."
Clearly there is something seriously wrong in the England camp, and some of the flippant post-match comments from the players and coach indicate that they have misjudged the fans' mood.
England supporters in full voice are truly a sight to behold and they deserve a performance that reflects their enthusiasm.
(Source: Global Times)