The first day of the
SOUTH AFRICA 1
Tournament hosts South Africa kicked off their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Mexico in a highly entertaining encounter. Having looked nervous and edgy in the opening exchanges, Bafana Bafana were fortunate to go in level at the break after Guillermo Franco failed to take advantage of some sloppy marking. The hosts came out after the break in a more positive manner and immediately got their reward when some neat interplay in the midfield sent Siphiwe Tshabalala through on goal and the 25-year-old converted in spectacular style rifling a shot into the top corner to give the hosts a shock lead after 55 minutes. Although visibly stunned, Mexico continued to probe and levelled in the 79th minute when Rafael Marquez found space at the back post and slotted home past Itumeleng Khune in the South Africa goal. The result will have satisfied both sides who remain unbeaten for the time being and now believe they can progress to the knockout stages.
Lodeiro sent off 81
Germany 06 runners-up France began their quest for a second World Cup title in unconvincing style, playing out a goalless draw with Uruguay in Cape Town. The first-half provided little to talk about in the way of goal-mouth action, the only real chance coming early on when Frank Ribery whipped a dangerous ball into the penalty area and Sidney Govou failed to connect from just six yards out.
Uruguay’s potent striker force Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez had been successfully snuffed out for the opening hour of the contest before Suarez showed good strength to knock the ball into the path of Forlan who saw his snap-shot flash wide of the left-hand post. The game sprung into life when second half substitute Nicolas Lodeiro was given his marching orders after a rash challenge on Bacary Sagna earnt him a second yellow card, handing France the initiative and the chance to steal victory. Despite the introduction of Thierry Henry, Florent Malouda and Andre-Pierre Gignac they still lacked flair and creativity as Uruguay saw out the final 10 minutes with relative ease, securing a share of the spoils in a game that lacked a cutting edge.