As the host, South Africa has a lot built in advantages, most are very unique, and they can spell trouble for unsuspecting teams.
I have been reading reports from the ground in Johannesburg written by reporters from all over the world. There seems to be a consensus that the vuvuzuelas will be South Africa’s secret weapon. The horns should add a lot to the festive atmosphere, and will be disconcerting to those that have never heard them before, including Mexico. As a BBC reporter tweets, "I've just done my first vuvuzela lesson Mexico will feel its noise on Friday."
I am going to guess that those same journalists have never been to a game in Mexico. They may not be vuvuzuelas in the stands, but there are plenty of horns. And it sounds exactly the same. Especially in the big games.
So the vuvuzuelas may not agitate Mexico as much as other teams. What other intangible advantage has been getting a lot of press lately? Ah, yes. The altitude. Some of the cities in South Africa are at a pretty high elevation, including Johannesburg, which is at 5750 feet. That’s higher than Denver. A lot of teams are going to have deal with that.
But it’s not as high as Mexico City, and it’s only a little higher than Guadalajara.
But the game is in South Africa, not Mexico. South Africa will outnumber Mexican fans by a large margin.
Early reports, though, suggest that the expected number of Mexican fans had been severely underestimated. In other words, Cielito Lindo will be heard at full throat on Friday.
It is a winter world cup, though, and lord knows Mexicans don’t like to play when its chilly. The forecast: sunny and clear, temps in the 60’s. Sounds like a pleasant November day in Santa Ursula.