‘All the World Cup’s a stage,
And all the men merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts’

As William Shakespeare roughly wrote in the play ‘As You Like It’

Football is the ultimate theatre.

It is a unique mixture of all human emotions

We saw this yesterday in South Africa.

The joy of the American team as Landon Donovan scored the injury time goal which took them to the top on the section and a place in the last sixteen.

The despair of the disallowed goal against Slovenia was forgotten the moment the ball hit the back of the net. Former President Bill Clinton enjoyed the moment at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

The despair in turn was now felt by Slovenia. Fate had played a cruel trick.

Only desperate tackling by the England defence a few moments before the American goal was scored a few hundred mile away had prevented Slovenia winning the section. Their dreams were shattered in a few short minutes.

The emotion of England as they survived to move into the last sixteen was clear.

Their supporters celebrated the victory of a team they had derided two days earlier.

There was also the enthusiasm shown by the victors. And it was not only the winners who were victors.

Ghana, who had just lost to Germany, still qualified when Australia beat Serbia. They celebrated with a lap of honour as if they had won the tournament.

They are now the last African team in the tournament.

There was also the pride of the Australian team from a country where football is the fourth most popular sport. They recovered from a heavy defeat in the opening match to draw with Ghana, after having had a player sent off, and then beat Serbia to miss out on a last sixteen place only on goal difference.

The skill of the players was also shown. The stunning left-foot strike in the second half by Mesut Ozil, the 21-year-old Werder Bremen midfielder won the match for Germany and took them to a match on Sunday with England.

The audience were also part of the performances – the vuvuzelas, the bands, the singing and the chants.

Yes, football is the ultimate theatre and the great thing is that we will have another four performances of the show today with different actors from Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Cameroon, Slovakia, Paraguay, Denmark and New Zealand.

Let the next performance begin!

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