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Mexico and South Africa Draw in World Cup Opener, 1-1

After a scoreless first half, South Africa scored on a left-footed rocket shot by Siphiwe Tshabalala in the 55th minute to take the lead before Rafael Marquez netted past South African goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune to salvage a point for the Mexican squad before a crowd of over 83,000.  Very late in the game, Katlego Mphela had an opportunity to give South Africa the win as he split two Mexican defenders and bore down on Mexican goalkeeper Oscar Perez, but Mphela was not able to take full control of the ball and the shot off his shin hit the Mexican goalpost.

Mexico dominated possession through the first half, as South Africa barely touched the ball in the first five minutes of the game, and the contest was played in the South Africa side of the pitch.  But Mexico could not take advantage of their dominance, and Carlos Vela’s apparent goal was called back by the referee.  South Africa livened up late in the first half and obtained several corner kicks but could not convert.

South Africa gave Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira the lead after ten minutes of the first half.  Mexican coach Javier Aguirre responded by substituting Andres Guardado, generally a starter in the past, for Paul Aguilar, and later brought in Cuauhtemoc Blanco for Carlos Vela and young Javier Hernandez for Guillermo Franco, who was unable to put several headers into the net in the first half.  South Africa substituted FC Twente forward Bernard Parker for Steven Pienaar late in the game.  Pienaar had a good game, and his leadership and calm kept South Africa in the contest, along with some fine goalkeeping from Khune.  For Mexico, youthful Gio Dos Santos was ever-present in the Mexican attack, especially in the first half.  The Mexican substitutes seemed to give the team a lift,and the crafty if paceless Blanco threaded some threatening passes.  The goalkeepers for both teams played well, as Khune went big to block a shot in the first half and Perez broke up a one on one South African chance in the second half.  A well-played game, with all the wonderful pageantry of a World Cup opener.  Only the absence of Nelson Mandela, whose family was struck by tragedy last night, marred the proceedings. 

In their next game, Mexico meets France on June 17 while South Africa takes on Uruguay on June 16.  Later today, France plays Uruguay and on Saturday, South Korea clashes with Greece, Argentina steps out against Nigeria and the USA play their long-awaited match with England.

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One Response

  1. PLEASE- try not to post the scores or winners in the titles of your articles. When i get a notification of a new post it will spoil my results before I get to watch the games. Like this one. I’m trying to stay away from facebook and websites, but I have to check emails.

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