Friday, June 11, 2010

South Africa and Mexico draw 1-1 in World Cup opener

A truly fantastic match between Mexico and South Africa, the excitement and anticipation for the tournament seem wonderful in Johannesburg. There was some bad news before the game however, Nelson Mandela was unable to attend the opening ceremony because his great-granddaughter died in a car crash the night before the opener. A terrible tragedy which hopefully won't affect the spirit at the tournament.

South Africa's Siphiwe Tshabalala scores the first goal past Mexico's goalkeeper Oscar Perez during their 2010 World Cup opening match at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 11, 2010.   REUTERS/Henry Romero (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
South Africa - Mexico

Both teams entering the match on form, South Africa on a 12-match unbeaten streak, and Mexico just having beaten Italy in a friendly. Right away the match started with action, Mexico controlling the possession which eventually created a low cross which South Africa keeper Khune couldn't hold on to, and Dos Santos' followup was blocked by Mokoena. Soon after South Africa gave the ball away, and Giovani Dos Santos' shot curved wildly to balloon to the left of the goal. Mexico had another golden opportunity with Franco controlling a chipped ball in the box to try and tap it past Khune who did an excellent job to block the close range effort.

South Africa's Siphiwe Tshabalala celebrates after scoring against Mexico during the 2010 World Cup opening match at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 11, 2010.      REUTERS/Henry Romero (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
After the half things changed, we saw a less confident Mexico, and a more counter-attacking South Africa. In the 55th minute, a neat and tidy counter-attack by South Africa released Tshabalala 1 on 1 with Mexico keeper Perez; the South African rocketed the ball into the top right corner for a spectacular goal. The stadium went wild as the players celebrated in joy. Giovani Dos Santos continued to scare the South Africa defence with his dangerous dribbles which resulted in shots which Khune heroically saved, but other than that, Mexico were startled by the determined and organized South Africa which stood before them. But eventually in the 79th minute Mexico grabbed the deserved equalizer, Marquez along with two other Mexico players were unmarked as they received the cross, and the Barcelona defender thumped home the equalizer. After the goal there was plenty of tension, the sides were evenly matched, and in the dying minutes Mphela hit the post from a golden opportunity. A fantastic match full of emotions of joy and happiness, the first game of the 2010 South Africa World Cup ended 1-1.


  1. Two draws on the first day... interesting way to start the world cup.

  2. Yes Stephen, but it's very important to note that the draws are very different.

    the South Africa - Mexico draw was an open game full of wasted opportunities which somehow ended 1-1. The Uruguay - France game was a tight and tense affair where both teams went out to defend.

    Hopefully we'll see more of the first type of game (and more goals), thanks for the comment Stephen!



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