Monthly Archives: April 2010

Today’s Lesson: Category 3 is risky

While updating our passport numbers and credit card information on FIFA’s website earlier this week, I came across our original ticket applications. It was interesting to see the teams and the ticket categories of the matches that we didn’t get tickets for. There were definitely a few trends. Category 3? Not the best luck getting tickets there. Matches at Loftus Versfeld? Fail.

Ticketing Phase 1:
Match 20 – Argentina v. Korea Republic @ Soccer City: Category 2
Match 26 – Cameroon v. Denmark @ Loftus Versfeld: Category 1
Match 32 – Spain v. Honduras @ Ellis Park: Category 3

Match 39 – Ghana v. Germany @ Soccer City: Category 3
Match 41 – Slovakia v. Italy @ Ellis Park: Category 2
Match 50 – (Round of 16) 1C v. 2D @ Royal Bafokeng: Category 1
Match 54 – (Round of 16) 1G v. 2H @ Ellis Park: Category 2

Match 17 – South Africa v. Uruguay @ Loftus Versfeld: Category 3
Match 22 – Slovenia V. USA @ Ellis Park: Category 3

Match 29 – Brazil v. Côte d’Ivoire @ Soccer City: Category 2
Match 33 – Mexico v. Uruguay @ Royal Bafokeng: Category 1
Match 38 – USA v. Algeria @ Loftus Versfeld: Category 3
Match 47 – Chile v. Spain @ Loftus Versfeld: Category 3
Match 52 – (Round of 16) 1B v. 2A @ Soccer City: Category 2

Side note: Lauren and I each put in ticket requests for Phase 1, which may or not be against the rules. The ticketing regulations reads “a Ticket Applicant can only apply for a maximum of four (4) single Tickets for up to seven (7) Matches per household.” But we don’t live together. So I’m pretty sure I don’t even need to feel guilty about scamming the system.

Ticketing Phase 3:
Match 22 – Slovenia v. USA @ Ellis Park: Category 1

On all three ticket applications, we indicated that we would take a lower tickets category. Of course, when you select Category 3, there’s nowhere lower to go; Category 4 tickets are only available to residents of South Africa.

As far as I can recall, we were not downgraded on any of our Category 1 and Category 2 requests and, judging by our lack of success in obtaining Category 3 tickets, I suspect that the lowest ticket category was the most popular.

If it is within your means, budget for the higher ticket categories when you’re planning your World Cup Travel Extravaganza. If our experience with tickets for the 2010 World Cup is any indication, splurging for the higher tickets categories definitely increases your odds.


The one month every four years

U-S-A, U-S-A

While completely content with the matches we had tickets for, it seemed silly not to see the American squad play a match if it were possible to do so. 

We’re American.  We look good in red, white and blue.  And it should be especially fun cheering on our home country. 

So, I took a gander at the schedule. 

June 12: England vs. USA We’re still stateside. 
June 18: Slovenia vs. USA
June 23: USA vs. Algeria  We’ll be at Soccer City, watching Ghana v. Germany. 

Okay.  June 18 it is!  Decision made.

When the third ticket sales phrase rolled around – you could put your application in any time between December 5, 2009 and January 22, 2010 – I put in a request for two tickets for the Slovenia/USA match at Ellis Park.

On account of the fact that:

  • We’re American
  • I’m financially irresponsible
  • I suspected that doing so would increase our chances of getting tickets

I applied for Category 1 tickets (Fun reminder: those are the priciest ones) and indicated that I would be willing to take tickets in a lower category.

(Obviously, willingness to buy Category 1, Category 2 and Category 3 gives you much better odds than saying that you want only Category 3 tickets.)

I was awarded Category 1 tickets. 

(Sorry, wallet!)

In honor of the occasion – since we’re American and patriotic and willing to make asses out of ourselves – we’re going to go all out. U.S. Soccer tattoos on our cheeks.  Ribbon in our hair.  And a lot of quality USA apparel. 

I’m pairing a new scarf with a U.S. Soccer fleece that I already own; Lauren purchased a new hoodie to wear while cheering on our fellow Yanks. 

And, yes, there will be temporary tattoos on our cheeks. 

And ribbon in our hair.

And maybe one of those obnoxious Uncle Sam hats.  Or a Statue of Liberty crown. 

Patriotic and embarrassing go hand in hand.

Bringing Detroit smarts to Jo’burg

When slipped into conversation (and, I’ll be honest, I slip it into every conversation. “How’s the weather today?” “Probably better in South Africa, WHERE I AM GOING TO THE WORLD CUP THIS SUMMER”), I find that news of our trip to Johannesburg elicits one of two common responses.

1. Jealousy. “Seriously? That’s extremely awesome. I hate you.” Responses like this are generally preceded by requests for souvenirs/stowaway space in our luggage/the kidnapping and safe delivery of Cristiano Ronaldo.

2. Fear. Fear of long flights. Fear of foreign countries. Fear of the exchange rate. Fear of FIFA. Fear of rapists. Fear of the African continent. Fear of carjacking gorillas. Fear of soccer hooligans. Fear of terrorism. Fear of lost luggage and misplaced tickets.

This will sound a little arrogant, but: I get the jealous.

I don’t get the fear.

I understand that there are things that we must be mindful of. We don’t plan on going to South Africa and being completely reckless. I have done endless research. We’re young, female foreigners traveling alone. We can’t be stupid. We get that. Common sense was instilled in us long ago (thanks, Mom!). I honestly believe that we’ll be okay.

I’ve made decisions and bookings and plans with safety in mind. It’s something that I’ve kept in mind but haven’t really obsessed over. Taken into consideration? Absolutely. Every time.

Being smart is one thing. Being fearful is quite another. Safety may guide our trip, but fear will not dictate it.

Also: we’re from Detroit. So we’re sort of (read: incredibly) bad ass.


When you purchase your World Cup tickets as early as we did, you know nothing about the matches other than the date, time and city where they are taking place.

At the time of our purchase, teams hadn’t even qualified for the World Cup final.

But we had tickets and, frankly, that was enough of a thrill.

FIFA held the World Cup draw in Cape Town on December 4, 2009. At the draw, it is revealed how the 32 participating nations have been assigned to eight groups of four teams for the first round of play. Without getting into the seeding and the rules and the “pots” that teams are placed into and the conspiracy theories – the draw determined which teams we would see play in five of our seven games.

So, it was pretty much like winning (the right to purchase) tickets all over again.

I was at work, Lauren was in class. We were each armed with a spreadsheet of the match schedule: plugging in the teams in each group populated the schedule. Simultaneously watching via the technological wonder that is the internet, we furiously and excitedly exchanged emails and text messages. (I’m sure Lauren learned boatloads in class that day.)

Here is a simulation of our conversation:


“Yayayayayayayay! Mexico!”

“We have lucked out so far! THIS IS SO EXCITING.”

“No Netherlands. Booooooooooooo. But a good chance of seeing either England or USA in round of 16!”

“26-06-10 1C (England or USA) v 2D (Australia? Serbia? Ghana?)
27-06-10 1B (Nigeria? Greece? Korea?) v 2A (France? Mexico?)”

“We could try to pick up tickets to USA/Slovenia on the 18th at Ellis Park. I bet that wouldn’t be impossible.”

“We see a lot of badass teams.

17-06-10 Argentina v Korea (Gooooooooo Argentina)
20-06-10 Brazil v Ivory Coast (Goooooooooooo Brazil)
22-06-10 Mexico v Uruguay (Gooooooooooooo Mexico)
23-06-10 Ghana v Germany (Goooooooooooo Germany)
24-06-10 Slovakia v Italy (Goooooooooooooo Italy)”

Annnnnnnd, there might have been a bit of squealing and hand clapping, too. (What? I was excited! I’m sure that my coworkers didn’t even notice. I’m prone to breaking out in fits of giddy stupidity on a regular basis.)

Disappointments: no Portugal, USA, Netherlands or Spain.

But really? Draw Day was nothing but rainbows, butterflies and unicorns. I’m not sure we could’ve been any luckier.

We have high expectations

From: Alyson
Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 8:29 AM
To: Lauren
Subject: WC stuff

See attached for a list of excursions coordinated by our hotel!  
We’re definitely going on the Soweto tour.  And how can we not go to the Lion Park or the Elephant Sanctuary?!!
I think we’ll probably wait and schedule the rest – museums (ha) or trips to other parts of town and whatever – when we’re there?
We’ll figure it out.  I just thought you might want to take a peek at what’s available.

From: Alyson
Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 9:45 AM
To: Lauren
Subject: re: WC stuff

Wait a second.  I’m just looking at the Lion Park website, right? 


From: Lauren
Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 9:45 AM
To: Alyson
Subject: re: WC stuff

This will be us.