South Africa 1, Mexico 1
I had contacted the South African consulate for a good spot to watch the game; their dignitaries e-recommended the Samovar Room on Winchester St, north of Carlton off Parliament, ie Cabbagetown. Samovar is a Russian bar, but the owner's wife will be rooting for all the African teams. This second-floor pad glittering beneath gaudy chandeliers is sufficiently decked out in Bafana-colours to satisfy my hipster cravings for 'authenticity'. Did the old Soviet Union ever prop up the apartheid regime? I won't even bother to Wikipedia that; I'll just pretend that they did.
I sit at the bar beside two eight-year-old schoolchildren who are clearly not in school. To appear un-creepy I order a diet cola. There's a real ethnic mosaic in the room, which is pleasantly uncrowded. The Jamaican girl beside me wears a South Africa jersey, and the Mexican boy beside her tells me he's cheering for England. My bartender is from Malawi and I get her to pose for me in her RSA jersey.
As the gun sounds an Asian newswoman for some Suburban-Smiley-FunTime TV channel arrives and interviews fans re who they support. Self-consciously sporting my Italy cap, I suddenly feel I'm disrepecting Mandiba's legacy of unity, peace and pride and-what-a-great-moment-for-the-nation blah blah blah so I put my hat away and cheer for South Africa.
To its credit, Samovar serves the only free roasted corn nuts I've ever tasted that were somewhat edible, but their diet coke is flat as soccer pitch. I cave ten minutes later and order gin and tonic. Hey, it's already 10:15am!
I watch for only 40 minutes before biking back to work, and so miss both teams' goals. The 1-1 FT is a definite victory for RSA. Befana means 'witch' in Italian but I can only guess Bafana means 'genie' in South Africa as those men pulled a small miracle out of the bottle.