After years of questioning if they could pull it off, the 2010 World Cup kicked off with a bang in South Africa. Well, “bang” is a relative term. After all, the two Group A matches that opened action in South Africa weren’t stellar displays of football. A pair of draws definitely can’t be considered a highlight when talking about the opening day of the World Cup but that was the only “action” they had.
South Africa 1 vs. Mexico 1 – This should have been a walkover. The host South Africans should have been easy fodder for the Mexicans. Somebody forgot to tell the Bafana that they weren’t supposed to put up a fight against El Tri. So, naturally, buoyed by an ecstatic home crowd, the South Africans opened up scoring in the tournament. Siphiwe Tshabalala fired home a strike in the 55th minute to make it 1-0 for the host side. The Mexicans had been in control up until that point and weren’t about to be scared off. A near continuous series of chances finally yielded a goal by Rafael Marquez to tie it up in the 79th minute with the game ending in a draw.
Uruguay 0 vs. France 0 – Ten men? No problem for Uruguay as they just barely saw off the French threat in a scoreless draw in a game generally described as boring. This match was notable for the first red card of the tournament being handed out as Nicolas Lodeiro was booked twice for yellows which meant an automatic red. Les Bleus were the dominant side for most of the game. They had a few very good chances that should have been goals but could not find the finish.
Man of the Day: Siphiwe Tshabalala (South Africa) – 1 goal
Group A Standings
1. South Africa 0-1-0, 1 Pt.
2. Mexico 0-1-0, 1 Pt.
3. Uruguay 0-1-0, 1 Pt.
4. France 0-1-0, 1 Pt.
Group B – Argentina vs. Nigeria
Group B – South Korea vs. Greece
Group C – England vs. USA