Noisy vuvuzelas disturbing players, but ban is ruled out
Football's world ruling body sprang to the defense of the much-maligned vuvuzela, the plastic horns that are popular at the World Cup games.
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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Football's world ruling body sprang to the defense of the much-maligned vuvuzela yet again on Monday with FIFA president Joseph Blatter ruling out a ban on the favorite accessory of South African football fans at the World Cup.
Writing on his new twitter feed SeppBlatter, Blatter said: "To answer all your messages (regarding) the vuvuzelas. I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound."
"I don't see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country. Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country?"
Earlier the World Cup local organizing committee also insisted it had never seriously contemplated banning the plastic horns.
"Vuvuzelas are here to stay and will never be banned," committee spokesman Rich Mkhondo told a news conference at Soccer City stadium.
"The history of the vuvuzela is ingrained in South Africa," Mkhondo said.
"As our guests please embrace our culture, please embrace the way we celebrate".
The vuvuzelas have become a hotly debated item at the World Cup, with a number of players and coaches saying they hamper communication between players.
South Africa's star striker Steven Pienaar admitted Thursday even the host team, which is used to the sound, had been deafened by the drone of the trumpets at a recently friendly.
"When we were playing Colombia we couldn't hear each other," he said.
Some spectators have also complained that vuvuzelas drown out other expressions of support, such as singing, even as others insist they reflect fans' enthusiasm.
The debate intensified on Sunday after the BBC reported that the World Cup chief organizer Danny Jordaan had left the door open to a vuvuzela ban.
Dempsey surprised World Cup goal counted
Clint Dempsey wasn't even sure his goal counted in the U.S.-England opener at the World Cup.
His 25-yard drive bounced twice and into the arms of goalkeeper Robert Green, then squirted out in soccer's version of hot potato.
"I didn't know exactly that it went all the way to net or not, but I just wanted to see what the linesman was doing," Dempsey said. "I saw the linesman running back with his flag, so I knew that they counted the goal and I just went and celebrated with the whole team on the bench."
Dempsey's goal tied the score Saturday and gave the United States a 1-1 draw. Now it's on to Friday's game with Group C leader Slovenia, which opened with a 1-0 win over Algeria.
A victory would push the United States toward the knockout phase for the first time since 2002.
The 27-year-old midfielder is becoming one of the most accomplished goal scorers in American soccer history. Having also scored against Ghana in 2006, he joined Brian McBride (1998 and 2002) as the only U.S. players with goals in multiple World Cups.
U.S. goalie OK
U.S. fans can sleep easier knowing starting goalkeeper Tim Howard, who is recovering from his rib injury, does not need further testing.
A statement from U.S. Soccer said: "He continues to make substantial improvement and is expected to be available for the match Friday against Slovenia."
Netherlands 2, Denmark 0, Group E: The Netherlands, which didn't lose a game in qualifying, kept its undefeated run going despite struggling on offense with a victory over Denmark. Dirk Kuyt clinched the Group E win after an own goal made it 1-0.
Japan 1, Cameroon 0, Group E: Keisuke Honda of Japan scored the only goal in an upset of Cameroon. The win is Japan's first in a World Cup match played on foreign soil.
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.