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Three lions ate my shirt

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Travelling England fan Mark Perryman looks back at South Africa's World Cup 2010. Recalling the initial media representation of the host country almost exclusively in terms of crime, disease and poverty, he describes how as the tournament unfolded the experience of being there impacted on supporters, while back home more positive images emerged as the contest unfolded. The eruption of 'Bafana-Bafana' fever is charted, and South Africa's very particular version of a unitary sports nationalism is discussed – and the ways in which this helps challenge the domination of the imperial tradition in formations of Englishness. The article also shows how for some fans the South African world cup experience offered ways of celebrating the country's culture and history, in the face of the commercial blandness of the FIFA approach.
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Keywords: CULTURE; FIFA; FOOTBALL; HISTORY; NATIONALISM; RESISTANCE; SOUTH AFRICA; WORLD CUP

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-12-08

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