Lara Watts (6) of Durban gripped the hand of Spanish captain Iker Casillas as they walked onto the pitch at Moses Mabhida Stadium for the World Cup semifinal between Spain and Germany.
The handsome goalkeeper asked who she thought would win the match. ‘‘Spain,’’ Lara said. She was right.
Lara was one of 11 Player Escorts chosen in the McDonald’s™ and YOU competition to walk onto the field with World Cup footballers – and the youngsters will never forget those moments.
Miguel Rocha of Johannesburg was delighted to escort Brazil’s Michel Bastos when the South Americans played against Ivory Coast in Johannesburg. ‘‘I was so nervous in the tunnel before the game,’’ the seven-year-old recalls.
Karthik Padayachee (7) and Storm Sibisi (9), both of Durban, were at the match between Portugal and Brazil in their home city. Storm, a Portugal supporter, led the team’s Duda onto the field. ‘‘I was a bit scared but when he took my hand I felt a lot better,’’ he says.
Karthik says the butterflies in his tummy vanished when he was on the field with Brazil’s Gilberto Silva.
Jordan Watson (8) of Johannesburg escorted the Netherlands’ Wesley Sneijder onto the pitch for the match against Cameroon in Cape Town. Zoe Zannos (8) of Cape Town walked out with Cameroon captain Samuel Eto’o.
Bailey Robertson (10) of St Francis Bay led Portuguese player Danny onto the field.
Michael Henry, a Grade 2 learner of Somerset West, escorted England’s Emile Heskey before the game against Algeria in Cape Town. Other young player escorts were Mateenah Mahomed of Johannesburg, Nawaaz Ebrahim (6) of Johannesburg and Mohamed Bulbulia (6) of Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal.
All were allowed to keep their player escort outfits and were given certificates and photos as mementos.