Jagger: I'm having a really good time
© FIFA.com

Rolling Stones frontman Sir Mick Jagger is back at the FIFA World Cup™ for a third time. He has been seen on TV as an enthusiastic football fan at the Round of 16 games featuring USA and Ghana, as well as his beloved England playing against Germany.

In an exclusive interview, FIFA.com caught up with Sir Mick to discuss his thoughts on South Africa 2010™ as he prepared to head to the Brazil v Chile game in Johannesburg.

FIFA.com:  You've been spotted taking pictures at a few games at the FIFA World Cup™. So far, how have you enjoyed the matches?
Sir Mick Jagger: Well, I watched the rounds on TV when I was back in England, and I came for the post-group stage. I was kindly invited to go to the USA game [v Ghana, in Rustenburg]. I’ve got a large extended US family, so they said ‘Go!’ you know, but it was quite a long way. I didn’t realise how far it was! But it was fun. I enjoyed it, it was a good match, but USA lost, though they did pretty good.

You seemed to be supporting USA against Ghana...
I kind of was... I don’t have any Ghanaian relatives but I’ve got lots of American ones. I support England and my team is England. When I was there and you’re with 30 Americans in the box, I’m not going to support Ghana really, let’s face it!

Who will you be supporting now that England and USA have gone out?
Well, my son is half-Brazilian and absolutely mad keen on football, like most people who are Brazilian, so we are going to see Brazil [v Chile] tonight. I hope they do better than England did.

You were sitting next to former President Bill Clinton at the Ghana match. How was he after the game? 
Well, they were a bit disappointed. Obviously, every team wants to get as far as they can but I think they were kind of almost happy with getting past the group stage and obviously very happy coming top in that group. We always thought we were going to that game to see England play because we thought that was a relatively easy group.

What are you impressions of the first FIFA World Cup to be played in Africa? That’s quite special.
Yes, it’s very special. I was actually here about six months ago, just on holiday, and obviously everyone was so revved up for it and so proud. It’s a lot of work, but I think through it all it seems to be going well, there haven’t been any major problems... there’s the odd thing here and there but you’ll always get that. I think they should be really happy with it. I hope the host nation has enjoyed it as much as everyone who has visited.

Like any Englishman, you would have been disappointed to see England go out but why do you think England can’t match those expectations that are always there?
Well, obviously England always thinks of itself as a top international country, so that’s your expectation. It’s not like the United States that thinks: ‘OK, we’re glad to be in it... we’re not lucky to be in it, but proud to be in it’, whereas England you want them to go at least to the semi-finals, you know you expect it. When they don’t come up to that expectation, well... the higher the expectation, the bigger the disappointment, obviously. It has to be said, though everyone’s a pundit, that they didn’t really play. In this tournament they only scored three goals, so you are never going to win much if you only score three goals. You cut away the rest of it and that’s really where you’re left. I mean, you can let a few in but you’ve got to score a lot more, so that’s not what they did.

I hope the host nation has enjoyed it as much as everyone who has visited.
Sir Mick Jagger

How many other FIFA World Cup finals have you been to?
I’ve been to two. I was at the France one [1998] and I was at it when it was in Germany [2006]. I think that was the only two. I sometimes get a bit confused with my European Cups, but I’ve definitely been to two.

Do you have any special memories of the finals?
My special memory, which was unfortunately not 100 per cent happy, was England v Argentina at St Etienne [1998], which was at a small ground in a very small town and it was an amazing match, for anyone that wasn’t there. I think David Beckham got sent off in that match for a pretty marginal incident, but it was an amazing game, England-Argentina, and that was one of my definite really stark memories of the World Cup. In 1966, God knows where I was, in America on tour I should think! This is my third World Cup and I’m very pleased to have brought my youngest son to it and it’s a great thing to be able to do, so I’m really having a good time.

You’ve been watching the games from home from the start. Which teams and players have impressed you so far?
Argentina. I think they’ve got fantastic scoring ability, which is what we were talking about earlier, which England didn’t seem to be able to match in this tournament. With [Carlos] Tevez, last night you could see how good they were against Mexico, so I think they are impressive. I mean, everyone fancied Spain pre-tournament. We’ll see, but I don’t know if they are going to be as good, and Germany have got some very good moves. I think this is quite wide open, this tournament, as we speak.

Where does your love of football stem from? Were you any good at it at school?
Useless, but actually I never played soccer at school. I went to a school that only played rugby and soccer was kind of frowned on, but we did play at the weekends. We didn’t play very seriously, but we always loved soccer and my family was always a great Arsenal-supporting family. I support Arsenal, but my eldest son goes every week, and I don’t go every week. We come from a family of keen supporters.

The sound of this FIFA World Cup has undoubtedly been the vuvuzela. What do you think of them?
Yes, it’s pretty mad really! It wasn’t as loud in the two games that I have been to as I was led to believe, but we’ll see tonight. It’s kind of odd rhythms that it sets up and you get used to it. You see so much of it on telly, so it’s not a surprise, but it is pretty loud in the stadium.

Have you had the chance to catch any South African music while you have been here?
I haven’t yet but I hope to now we’ve got a little bit of respite, so I hope to go and hear some live music in the next couple of days.

What are your plans from here? Are you going to stay with Brazil all the way?
We’ll see how Brazil do and then stay with that!