“Hi, my name is Fred and I’m a recovering World Cup 2010 addict…”

I woke up this morning to the biting cold of a Stanford winter’s day. Alone. And suffering a deep depression.

I needed help. Group therapy sounded good. And I got it. From the vastly swollen ranks of the “SA-positive” people out there who are as hungover as me. On this day after the drunken month before.

So, how to describe how I feel? I can’t. I’m leaving it to you. These are the pick-me-up messages which came my way on facebook and Twitter today… I’ll throw in some pretty pictures just to – how do newspaper journalists say? – “break up the copy”…

World Cup doubters were wrong: South Africa hosted a great tournament – Christian Science Monitor

Bravo Espana, bravo. the Grand Parade fanfest, filled to capacity with 25000 people was a SA experience i will NEVER forget as long as I live. People crying together, dancing, hugging, never before seen such unity amongst strangers and classes, creeds, colours and ages.

Trust a Ghanaian fan to succeed where Paris Hilton failed. Nobody bothered this bloke when he brought his pot into the stadium.

Dear SAFA – time to put your money where our youth developmental programme should be. How about PSL season to start with a youth league?

We did it South Africa. Thank you world for sharing our beautiful country.

Well done. Somehow, we must all soldier on. And we got our taste of rugby last night with the Dutch team. Sjoe!

The Netherlands' Nigel de Jong, who was later sent off, impresses upon Xabi Alonso of Spain that he didn't miss a single Bruce Lee movie as a kid

SA so in love with the vuvuzela that we name a newly discovered flower after it… iafrica.com

Spain has won the #worldcup of Football, but SA has won the World Cup of nation-building, social cohesion, national unity, pride & branding!

There’s always the Tri-Nations and Currie Cup to tide us over till the Premiership starts…

The football fans are taking lots of Vuvuzelas home #ORTambo #Joburg

Sorry, I'm not sure how this slipped in. The iPhone, I mean.

South Africa: On top of the world. Photo gallery… Times Live

South Africa proved it – the potential is high and the spirit of the people is strong. A metaphor for all of Africa?

South Africa #WorldCup stats ~ Attendance 3,178,856 (49,670 per match) Goals scored 145 ~ Wikipedia

World Cup 2010: 10 reasons to remember this year’s tournament – The London Guardian

Well done Spain – the best-looking team won the tournament. Well done South Africa – the best hosts won over the world.

The Spanish team seem quite happy to get their hands on the World Cup trophy... after some nutter had earlier run on the field to try to nick it. A Fifa heavy took him out with an almighty forearm smash to save the day. And he wasn't even Dutch.

I’m going to miss buying beers in the street and posing for photo’s with the police in front of Caspirs. Thank you South Africa, as if I needed a reason to love you more.

If the ref had picked up the foul on Robben, I think we’d have a different World Cup winner today! Well done to Spain, though, and to everyone involved in making the World Cup such a great success. I think we can all be extremely proud of the way South Africa rose to the challenge and made those doubting thomases, myself included, eat humble pie! Thanks for a fantastic tournament!!

Danny Jordaan hails #WC2010 final as ‘outstanding success’ – World Cup Local Organising Committee

Just watched all the morning news shows say good bye to the WC. I shed a tear. :(

The ever-popular Diego Forlan didn't shed a tear when Uruguay didn't make the final. He got so pissed off that he came along anyway, bringing a World Cup trophy his mum made for him back in Montevideo.

M sure s0uth africa are the best h0sts eva yho! even when 0ur teamz wer d0wn nd 0ut ppl still went 2 the stadiumz i salute u SOUTH AFRICA!

Well done, my country! We hosted the biggest sporting event in the world and EVERYBODY thinks it has been the best so far! I can’t wait for the next challenge cos we proved to ourselves that Yes, We Can!

Wow, South Africa, aren’t you proud ? Gosh that was beautiful, I must say, new South African history is written, forget june 16, together we wrote june 11 and it left a smile on all our faces, long live south africa!

Not trusting Eskom, quite a few fans brought their torches along for the closing ceremony at Soccer City last night.

There cannot be a single aficionado (not even in the Netherlands) who will dispute the cosmic justness of Spain’s win. They were better on the day, and they have been better than any team in the world for the last year or two. More than that, they play irrefutable football, football that fathers can watch with their children, football that is cerebral, clean-limbed, dignified, balletic, and immensely loveable—that last because they are not a team of physical giants, but are instead (for the most part) dapper men of modest proportions who wouldn’t draw a second glance if they were alongside one in the subway.”

And this from a Spanish guy… SOUTH AFRICA!!!!!!! A BIG CONGRATULATION TO THE BEST HOST NATION IN HISTORY!!!!! YOU DID AN EXCELLENT JOB AND BRING THE WORLD TOGETHER!!!!! THIS IS YOUR TIME TO SHINE THE WORLD AND YOU DID IT !!!!! AWESOME JOB!!!!!! NOW THE OLYMPICS IS GOING TO 2020!!! AWESOME WC2010!

I think Miguel enjoyed himself. And didn’t we all? Never again will those foreign predictors of doom – and our own naysayers – disrespect us. Yes, we are South AfriCAN.

We hoped he would turn up for one last hurrah. And, as always, Mr Mandela didn't let us down. Madiba, have we told you recently how much we love you?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to bed. I’ve got to try to shift this hangover…

Note to neighbour: Would you mind terribly, old chap, not blowing the old vuvu just for the rest of today? Ta.

*All pictures supplied by Sport24.co.za and The London Guardian

Take a bow, South Africans – you are the real winners of the 2010 World Cup!

To me, it matters not a jot whether the man who is given global football’s golden statuette on Sunday is wearing orange or red.

The real winner of this remarkable World Cup tournament is South Africa. And every South African.

I am no politician. No economist. I’m not much of a social analyst. But my “SA-positive” instinct tells me that, whether you found a job or not, whether your B&B filled up or sat empty or whether or not your company increased its profit over the past month, this beautiful thing has vastly enhanced all of our lives.

From the phenomenal opening ceremony at Soccer City on June 11, this World Cup really cooked!

I wrote long before the first ball was kicked on June 11 that the really tangible benefits of the 2010 World Cup would only be felt by our country in years to come. Millions of foreigners with significant disposable income will have had the scales fall from their eyes as their television sets and other media constantly told the story of the safety and sophistication with which our fledgling democracy has hosted this tournament. And they will have, from their lounges in Milan, Montreal, Manchester, Montevideo and Madrid, felt the “Ayoba vibe” that has danced its way around South Africa in the past few weeks.

For them, South Africa will have become a viable long-haul destination for a holiday, a place of warmth, friendliness and indomitable human spirit. We have become a country with which to do business. South Africa is the business. We have grabbed the opportunity to show the world what we are truly made of. And, just 16 years since the awful legacy of apartheid began to drain away, South Africa has finally grown up. We demand to be taken seriously. We can do just about anything any so-called First World country can do and, what’s more, we will do it a uniquely spirited way which can only enrich the human condition.

All South Africans united as one beautiful nation under the Rainbow flag

In the year that I have been writing the “only medically diagnosed SA-positive blog”, I have locked horns with the naysayers who refused to believe that South Africa could pull this off. That we could host a safe World Cup. That we could stage a successful World Cup. Stuck within the limitations of their fear, their distrust of an ANC government reeking of corruption, the unacceptably high level of crime, they saw the new stadiums rise as symbols of new doom and disaster. They steadfastly refused to break free of the shackles of their post-apartheid victimhood and see the bigger picture.

A week before the World Cup began, I was savouring my afternoon coffee at the Art Cafe in my newly-adopted village of Stanford in the Western Cape when an elderly woman opposite me let out a groan. I looked up to see her look up from her morning newspaper, a pained expression contorting her face. “I wish this damn World Cup was over,” she whined, “so that we can get back to our lives.”

I decided to remain quiet as there seemed little point in trying to win over yet another doom-monger. “What do you think?” she asked. I told her. At length. In detail. She blinked. Her top lip quivered uncontrollably. And then she put up an argument, rooted in the comfort zone of her dedication to making herself as small and shrivelled-up as possible in the face of a country that “was going to the dogs”. After we had agreed to disagree, I suggested that she might herself be caught up in the tsunami of goodwill and high spiritedness that was about to envelop South Africa. No sooner had the ball pinged off the left foot of Bafana Bafana’s Siphiwe Tshabalala to open the scoring in the very first match against Mexico and she was.

No sooner had Siphiwe Tshabalala buried the ball in the Mexico net and the South African naysayers were rushing off to buy vuvuzelas and mirror socks

I have so many anecdotes of naysayers and don’t-give-a-damners seduced by the beautiful vibe that has permeated World Cup South Africa but space precludes me from telling them. Suffice to say that there is a new positivity which abounds in the psyche of South Africans. The long-cherished spirit of “ubuntu” (communal togetherness) has turned from a trickle to a torrent as inter-racial distrust has washed away under the wanton waving of our Rainbow flag.

From the pre-World Cup day that the Afrikaner volk which lives, breathes and eats the Pretoria-based Bulls rugby franchise charted unknown territory by going into Soweto to watch their heroes play a Super 14 semi-final at Orlando Pirates’ home ground and ended up enjoying a “moerse jol” (one hell of a party) with the locals to the ongoing feelgood fandango that is this World Cup, South Africa has reached out across hitherto impassable divides to claim its future.

An entire continent will benefit from South Africa's successful staging of the 2010 World Cup

There is no doubt that this future is littered with challenges. It would be one-eyed of me to dismiss the chaos of Wednesday night when fans were late for or missed the Spain v Germany semi-final in Durban because of the gross unpreparedness of Acsa (Airports Company of South Africa) for the number of planes flying into the spanking-new state-of-the-art King Shaka Airport. And it would be remiss to ignore disturbing reports of a possible resurfacing of the xenophobia which tore through South Africa’s shantytowns in 2008.

Yes, there will be many obstacles to overcome. But if there’s one country I would back to find a way of overcoming these challenges, it is South Africa. We have made it our national sport to bounce back from adversity. The overwhelming success of this World Cup only serves to remind us that South Africans are an extraordinary bunch. An extraordinary bunch blessed to live in an extraordinary country. The beloved country. I am so proud of my “SA-positive” status.

What a winner!

So, tell me, how did you wear your colours on this Orange Tuesday?

I trust that all of you good Hatpeople have observed Orange Tuesday. Or, given the price of a decent pocket of oranges these days, at least Naartjie Tuesday.

To lend impetus to our friends from the Netherlands playing the skins off those cheating gits from Uruguay tonight, I ate three naartjies (a kind of small orangey-like tangerine) today. And I would have worn an orange shirt, or even orange trousers, but for the fact that orange doesn’t suit my skin tone. I know this because Tamara, my image consultant, told me that on one of her weekly visits to Hatman Mansions.

This is a naartjie. For those of you who haven't seen one. Nice. But purple suits me better.

So I wore a purple crimplene shirt. With lime-green terylene trousers. And bright yellow winklepickers. Which, when set beside my skin, makes for a far more phenomenal vibe. These things are important. When one ventures from one’s blogorandah in Stanford for the afternoon bubblegum milkshake at the Arts Cafe.

Almost as important is the not entirely insignificant matter of tonight’s World Cup semi-final between Holland, also known as the Netherlands, and Uruguay, also known as the bunch of cheats who sucked in the beautiful footballers of Ghana and spat them out on to the ever-growing slagheap of teams beaten by cynical, win-at-all-costs, deceitful, immoral and downright tawdry toerags who masquerade as honourable representatives of nations fit to contest the globe’s most stellar football competition. Pah!

But, now that I feel better, let’s look at tonight’s semi-final. Or, rather, let’s look at another reason why the only decent thing to do is support the men from Tulipland.

There's nothing quite like an orange tulip to lift one's spirits, don't you think?

No, there isn’t. Correct answer. Holland might be a very small country inhabited by very tall people but, when it comes to a World Cup, they embrace the whole vibe like no other. They make the host country their home country for four weeks. Well, everybody knows that the Dutch tried to make South Africa one of their home countries many moons ago but now is not the time for another history lesson.

Let’s just place on record that I have very much smaaked (liked) the way that Agent Orange has permeated this beautiful World Cup. Take that Dutch cavalcade that has trekked across our magnificent country, drinking lots of beer in the morning and making new friends all day. I do smaak that. Stukkend. A vast improvement on all that shooting and stuff that Jan van Riebeeck’s mates did. But that’s ancient history. And I wasn’t going there. So let’s go somewhere far more recent. Like that picture I just showed you of an orange tulip. Here’s another one (picture).

Strange how the colour orange seems to work rather well with her skin tone. Something to with melatonin, I suppose.

Fine. I’m quite pleased with the way this is turning out. But I’ll be even happier tonight when Cape Town Stadium presents us with  row upon row of smiley orange tulips offset by weeping Uruguayans. Not, I hasten to add, because I take any pleasure from the suffering of others.

Just because I want a Holland vs Spain final and an eventual new winner of the World Cup. And because, more than anything, I want success in all sporting arenas to go to those who cherish the virtues of honesty, integrity and decency.

And, it appears to me, all of these things look good when worn with orange. Hup hup!

The Dutch blondes who displeased Fifafia’s Uncle Sepp… with pic!

I only have two comments to make about the tawdry tale of 36 Dutch stunners in orange shown the redcard by Fifa and arrested for choosing the wrong colour dresses out of their travel luggage.

1. For me, one of the off-field highlights of this World Cup was always going to be the, er, peach invasion of female members of Holland\’s travelling contingent..

2. Uncle Sepp needs to lighten up a bit. Yoga, meditation or a sound smack around the ear might help. I don’t recall people being arrested for wearing the wrong colour clothing under South Africa’s apartheid regime.

Look. I can’t confirm that these honeys in the pic below are actually the ones who were busted but it is safe to assume that they are a reasonable facsimile thereof (apologies for poor quality but this was clearly snapped on a cellphone)…

If these ne'er-do-wells represent the most terrifying threat to our World Cup, then I'm volunteering to deal with it.

OK. While I try to pin down Mr Blatter’s phone number to warmly congratulate him on keeping us all safe from The Orange Threat, why don’t you get all the facts of the story right here at Goal.com?

World Cup Draw highlight: loads of tall blondes to come to Durban!

Slick on the draw. South Africa and neighbouring independent state The Republic of Cape Town put on quite a show when hosting the Fifa World Cup 2010 finals draw.

Star of the show – and she certainly wasn’t leaving anybody in any doubt – was former Benoni bokkie Charlize Theron who was incredibly self-assured and didn’t sound or act like any Benoni bokkie I’ve come across (and there have been at least two).

Springbok skipper John “Barndog” Smit proved to the world that South Africans and rugby players do have a sense of humour when he said he didn’t mind South Africa facing tough opponents France, Mexico and Uruguay in Group A. “We’ll get in some good practice before we hit the semis and final,” said The Barndog. Yeah, right.

David Beckham, who everybody raves about more because of what he wears and the stick insect to whom he’s married than how he can bend a football behind defences, showed his London East End-bred humour by greeting our Benoni bokster with a “‘Ello sweetheart” and displaying his latest hairdo confection in the shape of a badger that’s been dragged through a hedge backwards. Nice, Becks.

OK. Time for a pic before I remind you of the full draw and give you the most authoritative assessment of the draw you’ll read anywhere (on an Umdloti blog)…

Fifa minion Jerome-ah Falcke-ah gives-ah us-ah a draw card action while David "Hedgehoghead" Beckham tries to catch our Charlize's attention with a handy signal of how big he is. Ooh, bee-have Dave! Pic courtesy of guardian.co.uk

Fifa minion Jerome-ah Falcke-ah gives-ah us-ah a draw card action while David "Hedgehoghead" Beckham tries to catch our Charlize's attention with a handy signal of how big he is. Ooh, bee-have Dave! Pic courtesy of guardian.co.uk

Without any further hair-do, here’s that draw (with my hometown Durban’s fixtures in bold)…

Full groups for the 2010 World Cup finals

Group A South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France

Group B Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece

Group C England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia

Group D Germany, Australia, Ghana, Serbia

Group E Holland, Japan, Cameroon, Denmark

Group F Italy, New Zealand, Paraguay, Slovakia

Group G Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, Portugal

Group H Spain, Honduras, Chile, Switzerland

Provisional match schedule

GROUP A

Match 1, June 11 1500: South Africa v Mexico (Soccer City, Johannesburg)

Match 2, June 11 1930: Uruguay v France (Cape Town)

Match 17, June 16 1930: South Africa v Uruguay (Pretoria)

Match 18, June 17 1230: France v Mexico (Polokwane)

Match 33, June 22 1500: Mexico v Uruguay (Rustenburg)

Match 34, June 22 1500: France v South Africa (Bloemfontein)

GROUP B

Match 3, June 12 1230: Argentina v Nigeria (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)

Match 4, June 12 1500: South Korea v Greece (Port Elizabeth)

Match 19, June 17 1500: Greece v Nigeria (Bloemfontein)

Match 20, June 17 1930: Argentina v South Korea (Soccer City, Johannesburg)

Match 35, June 22 1930: Nigeria v South Korea (Durban)

Match 36, June 22 1930: Greece v Argentina (Polokwane)

GROUP C

Match 5, June 12 1930: England v USA (Rustenburg)

Match 6, June 13 1230: Algeria v Slovenia (Polokwane)

Match 22, June 18 1500: Slovenia v USA (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)

Match 23, June 18 1930: England v Algeria (Cape Town)

Match 37, June 23 1500: Slovenia v England (Port Elizabeth)

Match 38, June 23 1500: USA v Algeria (Pretoria)

GROUP D

Match 7, June 13 1500: Germany v Australia (Durban)

Match 8, June 13 1930: Serbia v Ghana (Pretoria)

Match 21, June 18 1230: Germany v Serbia (Port Elizabeth)

Match 24, June 19 1230: Ghana v Australia (Rustenburg)

Match 39, June 23 1930: Ghana v Germany (Soccer City, Johannesburg)

Match 40, June 23 1930: Australia v Serbia (Nelspruit)

GROUP E

Match 9, June 14 1230: Holland v Denmark (Soccer City, Johannesburg)

Match 10, June 14 1500: Japan v Cameroon (Bloemfontein)

Match 25, June 19 1500: Holland v Japan (Durban)

Match 26, June 19 1930: Cameroon v Denmark (Pretoria)

Match 43, June 24 1930: Denmark v Japan (Rustenburg)

Match 44, June 24 1930: Cameroon v Holland (Cape Town)

GROUP F

Match 11, June 14 1930: Italy v Paraguay (Cape Town)

Match 12, June 15 1230: New Zealand v Slovakia (Rustenburg)

Match 27, June 20 1230: Slovakia v Paraguay (Bloemfontein)

Match 28, June 20 1500: Italy v New Zealand (Nelspruit)

Match 41, June 24 1500: Slovakia v Italy (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)

Match 42, June 24 1500: Paraguay v New Zealand (Polokwane)

GROUP G

Match 13, June 15 1500: Ivory Coast v Portugal (Port Elizabeth)

Match 14, June 15 1930: Brazil v North Korea (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)

Match 29, June 20 1930: Brazil v Ivory Coast (Soccer City, Johannesburg)

Match 30, June 21 1230: Portugal v North Korea (Cape Town)

Match 45, June 25 1500: Portugal v Brazil (Durban)

Match 46, June 25 1500: North Korea v Ivory Coast (Nelspruit)

GROUP H

Match 15, June 16 1230: Honduras v Chile (Nelspruit)

Match 16, June 16 1500: Spain v Switzerland (Durban)

Match 31, June 21 1500: Chile v Switzerland (Port Elizabeth)

Match 32, June 21 1930: Spain v Honduras (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)

Match 47, June 25 1930: Chile v Spain (Pretoria)

Match 48, June 25 1930: Switzerland v Honduras (Bloemfontein)

LAST 16

Match 49, June 26 1500: Winner Group A v Runner-up Group B (Port Elizabeth)

Match 50, June 26 1930: Winner Group C v Runner-up Group D (Rustenburg)

Match 51, June 27 1500: Winner Group D v Runner-up Group C (Bloemfontein)

Match 52, June 27 1930: Winner Group B v Runner-up Group A (Soccer City, Johannesburg)

Match 53, June 28 1500: Winner Group E v Runner-up Group F (Durban) NB: Probably Holland vs one of Paraguay and Slovakia.

Match 54, June 28 1930: Winner Group G v Runner-up Group H (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)

Match 55, June 29 1500: Winner Group F v Runner-up Group E (Pretoria)

Match 56, June 29 1930: Winner Group H v Runner-up Group G (Cape Town)

QUARTER-FINALS

Match 57, July 2 1500: Winner of Match 53 v Winner of Match 54 (Port Elizabeth)

Match 58, July 2 1930: Winner of Match 49 v Winner of Match 50 (Soccer City, Johannesburg)

Match 59, July 3 1500: Winner of Match 52 v Winner of Match 51 (Cape Town)

Match 60, July 3 1930: Winner of Match 55 v Winner of Winner of Match 56 (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)

SEMI-FINALS

Match 61, July 6 1930: Winner Match 58 v Winner Match 57 (Cape Town)

Match 62, July 7 1930: Winner Match 59 v Winner Match 60 (Durban)… NB: Most likely Argentina vs Germany!

THIRD-PLACE PLAY-OFF

Match 63, July 10 1930: Loser Match 61 v Loser Match 62 (Port Elizabeth)

FINAL

Match 64, July 11 1930: Winner Match 61 v Winner Match 62 (Soccer City, Johannesburg)

Hey, are you still here? Coolness. My point-form summary (for what it’s worth):

* South Africa in a humungously tough group with world-class cheats France (who handballed my Irish mates out of the finals), Mexico and Uruguay and unlikely to progress further than their training ground due to fear and anxiety about letting down a nation which has no expectations of them at all.

* We in Durban will get to see playing live at our truly world-class new ground, the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Portugal vs Brazil and, probably, Argentina vs Germany in one of the semi-finals. Awesomeness overload.

* Durbs-on-Sea (and me in particular) will witness Holland play twice… which is totally epic as very tall and gorgeous blondes will travel over with the Dutch and undoubtedly romp in bikinis in our sub-tropical winter-warm bit of the Indian Ocean. I’m completely fine with that. And, as a bonus and as you can see right here, the Orange People have, unlike the whale-murdering Japanese and the odd Spaniard, embraced our vuvuzela like it’s their own. I offer a massive doff of the old red hat and a loud paaaarrrrp of my vuvu to our friends from Amsterdam and any other urban conurbations which exist in the Netherlands. Jy’s vreeslik welkom hier in Durban, maatjies. Especially your flaxen-locked Amazonians. *Insert winky face*