Ten stadiums await 32 teams in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament, the most watched sporting event in the world. From the opening kick to the final whistle, Johannesburg will be the center of attention but other venues will have the splendor of glistening new stadiums that will showcase how far the continent of Africa has come. Here is your guide to all ten World Cup stadiums in South Africa.
Johannesburg will have two venues for football fans to enjoy. Soccer City is the focal point of both the beginning and end of the tournament. The first match of 2010 is between South Africa and Mexico on June 11th and the final will be a month later at the same stadium. This mass gathering place is known for much more than soccer. This stadium, before its renovation, was where people celebrated Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990. Recently upgraded, watch Argentina’s match versus Korea to be a big early contest at this venue.
Johannesburg has another historic soccer field in Ellis Park. The first building on the grounds was built in 1928 as a rugby stadium. Since then, it hosted the Confederations Cup Final in 2009 between the United States and Brazil. The USA returns to the venue against Slovenia on June 18th.
Cape Town’s Green Point Stadium is brand new in one of the oldest cities in South Africa. Not only is it a world-class stadium for football but it will be used as a concert arena as well. If team sports aren’t your fancy, the ocean is a few hundred feet away or there is an adjacent golf course. Cameroon and the Netherlands clash here on June 24th.
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will be known for its wonderfully bleach-white walls and roof the evoke images of full white sails blown open by a stiff sea breeze. The main pitch is natural grass while the surrounding turf is artificial. The third place game will be played here on July 10th.
Durban Stadium is much more than a venue for world-class football. The arch that overlooks the pitch will also host cable cars that tourists can ascend and view the city and surrounding seaside 300 feet above the field. Brazil squares off against the mother country Portugal in their final Group G match on June 25th in Durban.
Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit hosts four group matches in the northeast part of South Africa. Located relatively close to wildlife refuges, when you’re not busy viewing footballers on the pitch you can see some of Africa’s iconic wildlife nearby. Check out the Honduras/Chile match on June 16th.
Located in Pretoria, Loftus Versfeld Stadium was built in 1903 as one of the oldest sporting stadiums in South Africa. South Africa plays Uruguay on June 16th and the USA plays Algeria a week later at this historic site.
Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane is named after one of South Africa’s heroes of the struggle against apartheid who grew up in Polokwane. Four group matches will be played here.
Rustenberg is the site of Royal Bafokeng Stadium, a tribute to a local tribe who fought for and won a share of platinum mining rights in nearby mines. For Americans, this place will hold significance as their opening match against the mother country England commences play on June 12th.
Free State Stadium in Mangaung will be home to South Africa’s final group game against France, who barely qualified for the World Cup. In what will surely be a do-or-die for both teams on June 22nd, this stadium will play a significant role in South Africa’s World Cup hopes and dreams on the last day of Group A.