The FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 clash between Group B rivals Italy and Brazil certainly delivered on its pre-match promise, delivering three goals before the interval and tension aplenty throughout.

"I couldn't have asked for anything better. Italy have no chance. They can go home tomorrow," said yellow-bedecked Mustafa Essak from Johannesburg during half-time at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane/Pretoria.

Essak was one of tens of thousands of roaring Brazilian and Italian fans in the stadium on 21 June for a match which sold out even more quickly than the final on 28 June.

"You can't miss this game. It's like a once-in-a-lifetime chance. It's a dream come true," said 16-year-old Gabriella De Pretta from Johannesburg in the front row with a group of Italy fans.

Zambian lawyer Fraser Chishiuba travelled from Lusaka for the match, the only South Africa 2009 fixture he will watch: "This is the only one we are going to see because it's the only one: this is the final."

You can't miss this game. It's like a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
Italy fan Gabriella De Pretta

Meanwhile, 22-year-old Kyle Schoeman, his face painted in Brazilian colours, had this say: "It's fantastic - it's something you'll never get in your life again." 

Brazil fan Gareth Manuel from the coastal city of Durban, for his part, travelled to Pretoria to see Real Madrid's new signing Kaka first-hand, having previously only ever seen him on television.

Manuel, a 22-year-old student, felt no qualms about choosing the Italy-Brazil clash for his only FIFA Confederations Cup ticket instead of supporting Bafana Bafana. "I can get a chance to see a Bafana game any time during the year. Where can you see Italian international players and Brazilian international players in South Africa?"

"This is going to be a World Cup vibe," said 26-year-old Pretoria accountant Nicholas Giacinti. "I never thought I'd get to see them live, so it's like once-in-a-lifetime."

And outside the stadium was volunteer Paul Maesela, who has assisted at three matches to date. "This is the busiest of all (the matches so far)," said Maesela, just one of the many volunteers that have helped make South Africa 2009 an enjoyable experience for everybody involved.