JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Just when you thought the hatred for Jabulani would slow, or at least hoped it would, England defender Jamie Carragher has taken the drama to another level, claiming the ball favors the Germans.

How else could Germany have scored such precise goals in its 4-0 win over Australia?

Carragher overlooked the obvious explanation - Australia's team is really bad - and said it was because the German league, the Bundesliga, has been using the ball since February.

Carragher said he "wasn't looking for an excuse," but that the ball is playing inconsistently for "every team, except Germany."

Brazil nuts. Since early June, Johannesburg's Tambo International Airport has been the revolving door for World Cup teams, World Cup fans, and celebrities.

There was Shakira's landing, John Travolta's, and R. Kelly's, but on Tuesday morning, the news was the arrival of Brazilian fans, just in time for Tuesday night's match between Brazil and North Korea.

A news reporter, broadcasting over local radio, described the excited Brazilian fans as they strode through the airport and onto buses. When he tossed it back, the show's host offered this insight: "Usually when you land on a flight from Sao Paulo, there's a special welcome for our Brazilian friends and it includes rubber gloves."

Yo, that's cold. A cold front has hit Johannesburg, with Tuesday's temperatures the lowest of the month. The forecast includes "rainstorms, freezing temperatures, and, possibly, snow in the mountains." One local news outlet said soccer fans "will be facing bitterly cold weather as winter tightens its grip." At the U.S. compound in Irene, 25 minutes from downtown, forward Edson Buddle offered this tweet Tuesday morning: "Why is it getting colder in SAfrica?? I'm back under the covers."

Standard time. When asked what he thought about the reported 17 million fans who watched Saturday's match between the United States and England, U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan said, "I think that should be the standard."

It's unclear if Donovan meant that number should be "the standard" every time the United States plays England in a World Cup, which seems to happen twice a century, or "the standard" for all soccer broadcasts, including the Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake.

Where the boys are. Spotted: Bafana Bafana's bus heading north on the N1, South Africa's five-lane highway that leads to Pretoria, site of The Boys' second World Cup match, to be played Wednesday against Uruguay. The Hyundai bus was impossible to miss, covered in the colorful South African flag and surrounded by a half-dozen flashing police escorts.

Look for the union label. Finding authentic South Africa gear right now is about as likely as prying the Slovenia game plan from the hands of U.S. coach Bob Bradley.

According to local news outlet the Independent Online, stores are selling out of official Bafana Bafana merchandise at a staggering rate: R100,000 worth (approximately $13,000) an hour. One local merchandising expert said demand for South African gear is "50 times" what was expected.

"And Hong Kong suppliers have enjoyed a roaring trade as desperate fans search for soccer shirts and flags - irrespective of whether they are upside-down flags or display misspellings," wrote the local outlet.

There are signs on many street corners reading, "No hawking," which would be the same as "no soliciting." Signs haven't stopped hawkers - selling unauthorized gear, flags, and jerseys - from occupying most street corners.

Every so often someone will be offering knockoff Louis Vuitton purses.

Playing favorites. When asked how it felt to be favored in a World Cup match - the United States is considered the favorite over its Friday opponent, Slovenia - Donovan smirked and said, "Who said we're the favorite?"

Well, duh, the bookies have.

"Cause they know," Donovan quickly replied.

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or kfagan@phillynews.com.