Brazil escapes South Africa's 'killer bees'

South Africa loses to Brazil in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.

Martin Meissner/AP
Brazil's players celebrate at the end of their Confederations Cup semifinal soccer match at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday.

What does is feel like to have a swarm of killer bees in your ear?
Annoying? …. Debilitating?
Ask Brazil’s soccer team.

The world’s most famous soccer nation barely hung on Thursday as they slipped past (1-0) soccer light-weight South Africa amid a constant drone of vuvuzelas in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup – a quadrennial soccer tournament comprised of the top countries in each continent and the host nation (South Africa).


Vuvuzelas. The three-foot-long cheap plastic horns that are played incessantly by hundreds or thousands of fans at each South African game.

To see and hear them in action, click here.

These are basically the same horns that are sold on street corners or most US cities at every Fourth of July or New Year's Eve party.

But in South Africa, they are a staple for soccer fans. And you can count on hearing them again when South Africa hosts next year’s World Cup – the world’s most popular sporting event.

On Thursday, the buzz (it really does sound like a swarm of bees) was intense.
It was almost too much for Brazil. It took them until the very end to finish off South Africa.

In the waning minutes, Brazil’s free-kick specialist Daniel Alves fired a rocket into the back of the net. With a killer glint in his eye and a wicked stutter step, Mr. Alves locked and loaded.


It was that fast. It bent around the wall, glazed the right post, and spun against the net.

Brazil will now go on to face the United States in the final on Sunday.

No, that was not a typo. The US of A is in the final!
After backing into the semi-finals, the US pulled off one of the biggest upsets in a long time by shocking Spain 2-nil Wednesday.

Racist jeer?
One thing viewers may have noticed from the opening minutes of Thursday's game was that South Africa’s fans were booing one of their own players. At least, it appeared that way.

Every time the 6’6” defender Matthew Booth got the ball, the crowd erupted into a loud “BOOOOOOOOO.”

It was unmistakable: South Africa’s majority-black fan base was booing the only white player on the field. So much for the “New South Africa.” What Rainbow Nation?

Hold on.

The fans were actually chanting for “BOOOOOOO-th.”. You just couldn’t hear the “th.”

He's actually a fan favorite. They chant his name every time he touches the ball because they love him so much.

Foreign journalists covering the competition made the same mistake about Booth. It goes to show that often in South Africa, things aren’t always what they appear – at least to foreigners.

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