JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Soccer City's orange seats were difficult to differentiate from the Netherlands' fanbase, the Oranje, a.k.a. Clockwork Orange.
For FIFA, this was a decidedly good thing because it was nearly impossible to distinguish, on television broadcasts anyway, exactly how many empty seats existed inside the World Cup's marquee stadium.
But there were plenty.
An hour later, as Cameroon played Japan inside Free State Stadium, the white seats stood out as stark as goalposts.
The empty-seats issue is being "probed" by FIFA, which must be embarrassed that its premier event, for whatever combination of reasons, looks weakly attended.
Representing. The U.S. band Weezer, fronted by soccer fan Rivers Cuomo, released an "unofficial anthem" for the U.S. team titled "Represent."
Cuomo is supposedly such an avid soccer fan that in 2002, he booked Weezer's "Far East" tour so he could see the United States play in the 2002 World Cup, held in South Korea and Japan.
For this week only, you can download "Represent" for free via iTunes, unless you live in Britain, in which case it'll cost you 59p, which is a bummer for the three or four ex-pats living in England and dying for a free copy of Weezer's unofficial anthem of the U.S.
Piracy. North Korea is playing in its first World Cup since 1966, although in North Korea it might as well be the 19th century considering the country's only television channel, operated by the state, didn't purchase broadcasting rights to the World Cup.
What this means: In North Korea it is illegal to watch the World Cup.
That didn't stop some folks in the isolated communist country from pirating the signal from SBS, a South Korean channel. This news has threatened to increase political tensions between the two states: Before the World Cup, negotiations with SBS to show the games in North Korea broke down due to political tensions.
"The retransmission in North Korea was not authorized and as soon as we discover how the images were obtained we will decide what measures to adopt," said an SBS spokesman.
SBS better work quickly.
On Tuesday night, North Korea plays world-power Brazil.
On Monday, a FIFA spokesman told the German Press Agency: "We are discussing with the Asian-Pacific Broadcasting Union [ABU] the possibility of public television in North Korea having access to the World Cup signal, and we hope to have more information in the next few days."
Dutch treat. On Monday, Holland's avid supporters overtook Johannesburg, a fact that was distinguishable by color and outfits, the best of which were sunglass shades in the frame of a tri-colored windmill.
On the jam-packed N1 highway leading toward Soccer City there were orange-strung banners reading, "Hup, Holland, Hup."
Swoosh. An entire building in downtown Johannesburg is covered in a 30-story Nike ad featuring the image of Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, who is pointing heavenward, dripping sweat. The caption reflects Nike's line of advertising for this World Cup, "Write the future."
For better or worse, the vision dominates Johannesburg's skyline.
Ja, das ist ein TKO. In Sunday's 4-0 win over Australia, Germany attacked with the precision and style for which it is known. A day later, the team was on the lips of most media members, with this nugget topping the list of game descriptions: "They disposed quite capably of that group of middle-aged boxers."
Uranium, yes. Jerseys, no. Richard Smith of Exeter, England, has reportedly been stymied in his search for North Korea's soccer jersey. Smith, managing director of Subside SportsLtd, which sells apparel, considers it a point of pride to sell the jersey of all 32 World Cup teams.
He can't find North Korea's jersey. If he could, he'd buy 1,000.
"Our market is collectors," Smith told the Wall Street Journal. "They will want the shirt that no one else has."