Day 5 : Brazil v North Korea

Today was a boring and rather mundane day.

With a match at 2030h only 20 minutes away, the morning was spent doing more car logistics.

Working out who drives which car and to which venue takes more time than anything and causes the most arguments.

Four of the housemates went to the airport to get themselves put as additional drivers on the insurance. They thankfully ditched the Renault Scenic for another VW Touran.

Upon opening the house door we were greeted with a lovely deep crisp blue sky. We decided to go to Soccer City early to catch up on all the editing and work that needed to be done.

Ellis Park is not exactly in the nicest of areas. Last year on two occasions we took the wrong route and ended up going through the hood. It’s certainly not the nicest of places and anyone who wants pictures will have to pay a huge sum of money.

During our short drive we realised that we had been given the wrong car parking pass last night. We were in possession of a pass for the New Zealand game. We did not check. However, some fancy artistic work with the felt tip pen ensured we had the correct parking pass for the day. We sailed in to the Ellis Park media compound and breathed a sigh of relief that we were in one piece.

Upon opening the car door I realised I had made an even bigger mistake. Again whilst covering the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa last year, Ellis Park was a cold venue. Today was no different. Predictions of a minus one temperature were not wrong. The wind made it bitterly cold.

The afternoon was spent with iPod in ear concentrating on putting files in to folders, backing up about 80GB of RAW material onto a hard drive and making my trusty Apple Mac alive again. Keeping on top of things is important to ensure a smooth ride. I don’t want a slow computer when it comes to an important game.

© Matthew Ashton / AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

A very boring day really.

Especially for a blog.

No amazing landscapes to describe.

No funny stories.

Just basic office work that I do back home.

Even the Johannesburg sunset was nothing special.

The media center was cold.

Freezing cold. Everyone was wearing thick coats and hats. It was even colder outside.

Health and Safety would have something to say about the passage for photographers through the stands at Ellis Park on to the pitch but none of the fans or the officials seemed to mind. Walking down the steep and wet steps the grass was already in early stages of frosting over.

© Matthew Ashton / AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

Fans were wrapped in thick blankets. No Brazil girls in swimwear today.

© Matthew Ashton / AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

At each end huge TV screens show the action. The pictures on the screens were so colourful with the powerful lights that we do not see in the English leagues.

The theatre looked colourful and fit for any world cup.

However TV does not show the cold and those working here were shivering and willing away the minutes.

The photographers normally moan when being put close together. Today was rather nice in trying to keep warm.

With hats and gloves on, we snapped away.

Brazil attacking my end first half I was hoping for the same luck that I got when they defeated the USA here 4-2 last year. How wrong I was!

To be fair the North Koreans put up a good fight. The fans seemed happy.

© Matthew Ashton / AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

So far this tournament I have put up with the Vuvuzelas but today I put in the iPod and had some Simple Minds on repeat – Street Fighting Years live from Vienna to be precise.

The most important team group was captured – North Korea playing in a World Cup is big news.

No one knew anything about Brazil’s opponents and for us pitchside there was no surprise that the half time score was 0-0.

Having to sit in the same seat for both halves, I was faced with the ‘exciting’ prospect of covering North Korea attack as Robinho and Kaka orchestrated waves of attacks.

The final score of 2-1 was a fair result. We all did a mega quick edit and left with the heaters on full power heading back to Randburg.

© Matthew Ashton / AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY

The stove went straight on with soup and toast being the menu for the hungry photographers.

We all went to bed at 2.30am.

Some had a 6 hour drive to Durban tomorrow. I was driving three others to Nelspruit… more of that hopefully tomorrow.

Today was just a run of the mill group game.

Shooting the normal fans, hoping a great snap of Kaka would find itself into a publication somewhere, most of my clients were demanding a North Korea team group.

Not the greatest of pictures I have ever taken but editorially relevant to the story of the day.

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