South Africa excited by England Germany clash

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The Independent Football

FIFA and the World Cup local organising committee have expressed their excitement regarding the last-16 encounter between England and Germany in Bloemfontein on Sunday.

The tie was set up when England finished second in Group C and Germany topped Group D with a 1-0 win over Ghana.

LOC spokesman Rich Mkhondo said today: "It is an exciting game and the World Cup sometimes brings these games ahead of time. Perhaps people want to see them later in the competition.

"This is just one of the games that we are looking forward to. This is what the game of soccer is about - big rivals can meet earlier than expected. These are the games that we want to see."

FIFA head of media Nicolas Maingot added: "The World Cup is meant to bring the best teams for one tournament. Now we have a game which sounds like a classic.

"But from our point of view we should not forget there are eight games in the round of 16 and the tournament is going on. We will have close attention to the game, and the seven other games in the round."

Maingot would not comment on the security provisions for the match, but said generally: "Security is a key element of the entire event.

"For every game the security has to be 100% and our people together with relevant authorities have a daily meeting and they are working on those games. There will be a strong focus on security for all the games to come."

LOC spokesman Mkhondo took pride in the achievement of Ghana in reaching the last 16 and insisted the fact they seem almost certain to be the only one of the six African qualifiers to get to the second round should not affect how people view the tournament.

He said: "We wish to congratulate Ghana for keeping African representation in the tournament and wish them luck against the USA.

"This is the first African World Cup and we have always maintained that we wished and hoped that African teams would do well and Ghana is making us very proud by doing so well.

"It is not disappointing (that other African sides have gone out). Football is a game and you win some and lose some. There are only six African teams in the tournament. How many have come in from outside Africa?

"The balance is not in favour of African sides but what we have done is shown the world that we can host an international event of this magnitude.

"When it comes to the field of play it's a different thing, so let's separate the two. We as event organisers are happy. The world cannot believe that this continent, led by this country, can host the event.

"When it comes to the field of play, we leave it to the administrators and players to perform. We are very proud Ghana are still there, but it is an admission that a lot of work is ahead of us."

FIFA have not received an official report on an incident in the mixed zone at the United States-Algeria game yesterday, when a female journalist was involved in a row with Algerian player Rafik Saifi in which a bottle of water was thrown.