South Africa draw 1-1 with Mexico in 2010 World Cup Opener

The World Cup is finally under way and South Africa and Mexico got the tournament off to a great start when they fought out a very entertaining one-all draw.

Played in front of over 83,000 passionate local fans at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, the World Cup opener was a fantastic game to kick off the world’s biggest sporting event.

Both sides put up a wonderful display of attacking football with plenty of chances and when South Africa’s Siphiwe Tshabalala opened the scoring early in the second half with a corker of a goal, the home crowd noise was deafening.

A quality World Cup opener and Mexico dominated most of the first half with Mexican forward Giovani Dos Santos the stand out player on the field, creating many oportunities for his team.

First Half:
Mexico had a number of genuine chances but were unable find the back of the net after some very creative offensive play.

Franco was dangerous in the air for Mexico and he had a couple of clear headers that missed the target and one of them probably should have put them in front.

South African keeper Khune had some fine moments and none better than his save on the half hour from a Franco shot after he was played through by Vela. If it were not for Khune the host nation would have been down at half time.

Pienaar was very busy for South Africa in the first half and he was responsible for much of the home team’s good work.

South Africa had some moments of brilliance in the first half but they never really threatened until the last five minutes of the first half when they had a clear cut chance thanks to a Tshabalala crosse that was just missed by Mphela.

Mexican keeper Perez was called upon late in the half to parry away a troublesome corner before half-time ensued.

Top half of football and Mexico should have been a couple of goals up.

First half rating (Out of 5): South Africa 2 Mexico 4

Second Half
South Africa were the better side in the the first part of the second half and their speed and creativity caught out Mexico on a number of occasions and they split the Mexican defence multiple times.

South Africa's Tshabalala

South Africa were rewarded on 55 minutes when they counter attacked with a Kagisho Dikgacoi pass that cut through the Mexican defence into the path of Siphiwe Tshabalala who cracked it past Perez for the first goal of the tournament and a 1-0 lead to South Africa.

Both sides then played attractive free flowing football and it looked headed for a hard earned win to the home nation until some clever Mexico play at the 79 minute mark levelled the score.

Blanco from Mexico took a short corner which went to Andres Guardado and his resultant cross landed at Rafael Marquez’s feet in the box at close range and he duly converted to make the score line 1-1.

South Africa had a late chance at the death to secure a winner but Mphela’s left foot shot hit the post and went out of play.

Second Half rating (Out of 5): South Africa 3 Mexico 2

Final Score

South Africa 1 – 1 Mexico

55m Siphiwe Tshabalala (SA)
79m Rafael Márquez (Mex)

18m E. Juarez (Mex)
27m K. Dikgacoi (SA)
57m G. Torrado (Mex)
70m T. Masilela (SA)

South Africa line-up
Itumeleng Khune (GK), Bongani Khumalo, Aaron Mokoena, Lucas Thwala, Tsepo Masilela, Siboniso Gaxa, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Katlego Mphela, Steven Pienaar, Bernard Parker, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Teko Modise

Substitutes
Tsepo Masilela for Lucas Thwala
Bernard Parker for Steven Pienaar

Mexico line-up
Óscar Pérez (GK), Francisco Rodríguez, Ricardo Osorio, Carlos Salcido, Paul Aguilar, Rafael Márquez, Gerardo Torrado, Efraín Juárez, Carlos Vela, Guillermo Franco, Giovani Dos Santos

Substitutes
Andrés Guardado for Paul Aguilar
Cuauhtémoc Blanco for Carlos Vela
Javier Hernández for Guillermo Franco

Ground Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa
Attendance 83,548

Team Game Rating: South Africa 5 Mexico 6

Match Thoughts

Mexico dominated the game in the first half and really should have had the game won by half-time but they were unable to convert their dominant play. To South Africa’s credit they fought the game out strongly in the second half and were most unlucky not to snare a 2-1 win. A draw was probably a fair result at game end.

South Africa

Positives: Once they settled they were very creative with some wonderful passing and they moved the ball very quickly through the middle.
Area to Improve: Turned over the ball in dangerous areas of the field with some sloppy work.
Where to now: On their opening game they have the speed and skill to test Uruguay but France could punish their turnovers.

Best Itumeleng Khune (GK) and Steven Pienaar

Mexico

Positives: Sustained period of excellence where they completely controlled the game and attacked non stop without reward.
Area to Improve: Need to improve finishing skills and take chances in a World Cup or you will end up with a draw or loss as happened here.
Where to now: If they converted as they should have we would be lauding their effort when they dominated the first half but could not score. Will be more than competitive against Uruguay and France but will need to score when opportunies present.

Best Giovani Dos Santos and Francisco Rodríguez

Filed Under: 2010 World Cup

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