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June 9, 2010

Preparing for the World Cup

Next Friday, June 11th, South Africa will step onto the world stage as host nation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup as the international soccer tournament begins - welcoming 32 teams from around the world. South Africa was selected as the host six years ago, and has been preparing ever since, building five new stadiums, upgrading five existing stadiums, and building up public transportation, including a new rapid transit railway. Over the past weeks, the teams and their legions of fans have begun arriving while final preparations are made and and dress rehearsals held for the Opening Ceremony on Friday. The tournament takes place over a month, ending on July 11th. Collected here are recent scenes from South Africa as it readies itself to welcome the world. (39 photos total)

A fan waves a South African flag during a parade for Bafana Bafana, the South African national soccer team on June 9th, 2010 in Sandton, South Africa. (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The South African soccer team parades through Sandton, South Africa as thousands of local supporters cheer on June 9, 2010. (Michael Steele/Getty Images) #

A supporter of 2010 South Africa World Cup wears goggles with the colors the South African flag in Rustenburg, South Africa, Wednesday, June 9, 2010. (AP Photo/ Lee Jin-man) #

People surf on the beach near the Moses Mabhida Stadium (background) in Durban on June 5, 2010. Seven matches of the South Africa 2010 World Cup will be held at Mabhida Stadium. (JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images) #

A South African government staffer blows a vuvuzela soccer horn during the last Football Friday celebration at the government residence in Pretoria, Friday, June 4, 2010. During Football Fridays, that were activated last year to mobilize the country behind hosting the World Cup, South Africans were encouraged to wear their team's colors. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan) #

Workers put up a 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup banner at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 7, 2010. (REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado) #

Primary school children perform a play celebrating the soccer World Cup on June 8, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Children from the King David Victory Park Primary School completed their final dress rehearsal before performing in two sold out shows highlighting South African enthusiasm for the World Cup. (John Moore/Getty Images) #

Local children play soccer on a dirt pitch in a Soweto township on June 7, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) #

Workers fix a giant vuvuzela soccer horn on top of Cape Town's famous unfinished highway bridge, May 27, 2010. (REUTERS/Mark Wessels) #

A replica of the Jabulani match ball is seen on the pitch during a test match of youth teams at the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 8, 2010. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach) #

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal warms up before an international friendly match against Mozambique at Wanderers Stadium on June 8, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) #

A youngster enjoys the sun as she sits in the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 9, 2010. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva) #

The sun sets behind supporters watching Slovenia's national team during a team training session at the Hyde Park High School in Johannesburg on June 8, 2010. (MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images) #

Slovenia's national soccer team members walk across the tarmac upon the team's arrival at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, Monday, June 7, 2010. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #

A young girl blows a vuvuzela horn while walking in the Table Mountain National Park on June 5, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) #

Cape Town stadium, host to some of the 2010 Soccer World Cup games, seen with the ocean in background in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, May 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam) #

A worker mows the grass at the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg on June 8, 2010. (REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado) #

Technicians prepare for the satellite transmission of the World Cup on June 8, 2010 in Johannesburg. (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

New Zealand's goalkeeper Mark Paston (left) punches the ball away as teammates Ivan Vicelich and Chile's Esteban Paredes (right) jump during a friendly soccer match in Pretoria June 9, 2010. (REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado) #

A man walks through empty seats at the Ellis stadium, Johannesburg, Monday, June 7, 2010. (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias) #

Brazilian striker Kaka is seen through the viewfinders of several television cameras during the Brazil team press conference at the Fairways Hotel on June 4, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images) #

Children from The Kings School watch from a gate the South Africa's national soccer team training session in Johannesburg, Friday, June 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias) #

A street artist creates models of the Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium, right, and the Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay stadium, left, out of sand at the Durban beach, South Africa, Saturday, June 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) #

A South African aerobatic squad practices above the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg on Monday June 7, 2010, ahead of the World Cup opening ceremony. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) #

Municipal workers paint the 2010 structure at the Alexandra township in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday June 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe) #

Footballs cover the pitch as Uruguay's football players take part in a training session at the GWK Park stadium in Kimberley on June 7, 2010. (RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Australia's Lucas Neill is reflected in the water as he jogs with the team during a training session at Ruimsig Stadium in Roodepoort, just outside of Johannesburg June 7, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel Munoz) #

A worker rests on the roof of Cape Town Stadium after work May 18, 2010. (REUTERS/Mike Hutchings) #

Portugal's supporters cheer during a warm-up match against Mozambique at the Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg, Tuesday, June 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias) #

A worker paints a sculpture made out of soccer balls at the International Broadcasting Center near the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg June 7, 2010. (REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado) #

South Africa's goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune trains in Johannesburg on June 7, 2010. (ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Soccer City, also known as the FNB Stadium, seen in Johannesburg on May 11, 2010. The stadium is set to host both the opening and final soccer matches of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko) #

Shadows of the Australian team are highlighted on a fence as they arrive for a training session in Roodepoort on June 7, 2010. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Dancers perform during a dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony for the Soccer World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Wednesday, June 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #

A view of the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 9, 2010. Soccer City will host the opening match of the 2010 World Cup. (REUTERS/Jorge Silva)) #

The Sun sets behind South African spectators during a public training match against between local team Platinum Stars FC and England at Moruleng stadium in Moruleng on June 7, 2010. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images) #

South Africa's defender Matthew Booth and teammates train in Johannesburg on June 7, 2010. (ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images) #

The sun sets as the team play a short match during a Brazilian training session at Randburg High School on June 4, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images) #

A South African boy plays soccer in an open field in Soweto, South Africa on June 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) #