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My World Cup in pics

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James Pearce | 13:26 UK time, Monday, 12 July 2010

I've taken more than 1,000 photographs while I've been in South Africa. Given I've used my phone rather than a camera, the quality could probably be better. But they're still enough to stir so many vivid memories of my six weeks here. I decided I would share with you five photos that, for me, help to sum up the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Elephants, vuvuzelas and empty seats, wing mirrors, bus breakdown and fans waiting patiently



This picture was taken before the World Cup had even begun when the England players spent a day on safari. I was lucky enough to be one of the reporters covering the trip. Personally, of course, it was wonderful to be able to see so many animals close up but I believe the day symbolised so much about the England team. As I followed the players around Pilanesberg Game Reserve, I couldn't help but draw comparisons between the players and the animals. The players felt that they were being hunted, trapped for long periods within the confines of their hotel. They rarely looked happy. While other teams mixed freely with supporters after training and in the days between matches, the England players came across as aloof. Wayne Rooney revealed what he thought of the fans when his frustration was caught on camera after the draw against Algeria. Perhaps England's chances of mounting a serious challenge at a major tournament would increase if the players could find a way to relax and smile a bit more.


No summary of South Africa 2010 would be complete without a mention of the vuvuzelas. But this photo also shows something else that was seen too frequently - empty seats. Whatever the reason for so many missing spectators, Fifa must make sure it never happens again.


These wing mirror covers were the must-have accessory of the World Cup. The South African people could not have done more to get behind their team. Yes, South Africa became the first host nation to fail to progress beyond the group stage but the legacy of the way that Bafana Bafana pulled the population behind the South African flag will live on.


I took this photo when the minibus taking the BBC News team to Bloemfontein broke down. You'll note that I was happy to take the pictures while others pushed! There's a serious point, though, behind my decision to include this. I, like everybody else, had heard all the scare stories about security in South Africa. I'd been told about all the terrible things that could happen if you were stuck in a broken-down vehicle at the side of the road. Well, they didn't happen to me. That's not to say that South Africa is totally safe - I have friends and colleagues who had problems here - but I do believe that some of the warnings about safety were too severe. The vast majority of the South African people are warm and welcoming. I would like to thank them for giving me such an enjoyable World Cup.


I took this picture a few hours before the semi-final between Spain and Germany in Durban. A Spanish and German fan were waiting for the turnstiles to open. In six weeks in South Africa, I have not seen a single act of hooliganism. Supporters from all over the world came together for a festival of football.


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