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Steve Stables World Cup blog - entry 5

On matchday I got up at 6am to travel to Rustenburg, with three other English lads. Our bus was to leave at 8.30am from the Nelson Mandela Mall. We first set up our day with a huge breakfast, which was no doubt the biggest I have ever had.

It took us two hours before we stopped at a place 10km from Rustenburg which we would stay at for the next six hours. The driver didn’t look confident as he started stopping and turned around and started going around in circles. Being concerned, one of our group went to the front of the bus to help him.

He turned round and said: “We are going the wrong way because the driver has the map upside down” - Laughter erupted.

We eventually got to the place, which turned out to be a business centre. They had a conference room holding approximately 300 people which was used to watch the football as well as a canteen to buy food and drink.

There were different activities on offer, which included a Safari. I took this offer as he guaranteed us to see a giraffe, the weather was extremely warm in the open top jeep. It had turned out to be a great day, we came across a zebra, Impala antelopes and springboks, however no giraffes.

The guide stopped the jeep and got out and picked up lots of antelope droppings. He explained in South Africa they have dropping spitting championships. He put one of the droppings into his mouth and spat it as far as he could.

He asked us who would like a go. A guy shouted: "We are English and not stupid as you just spat out a sweet, but you should try the Americans as they spit a lot of rubbish!"

After lots of beer and a nice lunch we headed for Rustenburg, we stopped at the Park and Ride and we told to meet back at the same place. We then took the Park and Ride bus to the stadium, it was mayhem. The bus parked outside and we were told to meet back at the same place. So we were ready for the game, I had a great seat just behind the goal.

Within the first ten minutes Steven Gerrard scored and the stadium erupted, what a start this was. I was thinking England should now win this comfortably, but unfortunately we sat back and allowed them back into the game. Then the catastrophic moment when Rob Green let in an easy 'backpass' from the American forward.

To tell you the truth my grandmother could have saved it, we had numerous chances to go back into the lead, especially from Heskey who was put through on goal. There was a groan from the England fans as he sprung the offside trap, knowing he wasn’t going to score.

So after 90 minutes it was 1-1 and disgruntled England fans left with the American waving their flags. I was extremely disappointed with the performance, where was the pride and the British Bulldog spirit?

Hopefully we can improve over the next two games or it will be a total waste of a trip. Getting out of the stadium was a nightmare and finding the Park and Ride bus was impossible.

However after an hour and a half I managed to get back to the bus location. Unfortunately for me the 20 cars in the car park had turned into thousands, it took me another hour to find the bus.

The strange thing was, everyone had the same problems and the bus left a couple of people behind. We didn’t get back until 5am in the morning, but that was a lot better than being left in Rustenburg.

By Steve Stables
Published: June 15, 2010

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