A Fitting Finish to the First Game
The game was billed as 48,000,000 vs 11. The entire country of South Africa against the World Cup mainstays from Mexico. In the end, with vuvuzelas buzzing the entire game, it ended in a draw.
It would have been a highly disappointing start to the World Cup if the host country lost the opening game. In recent Cups, the host country has enjoyed success in advancing past the group stage. A loss to Mexico would have put South Africa behind the 8-ball early.
After observing the game, it would have been a shame for Mexico to lose this game. They carried the play in the first half, with numerous scoring chances. They had a goal called back by a questionable offside, which I believe was the correct call. The Mexican squad was better organized and more technically sound. Their interior short passing game carved up the South Africans pretty well.
After a scoreless first half, Bafana Bafana (S. Africa) opened the scoring for the 2010 tournament with a beautiful goal. The swift counter-attacking play was punctuated by a gorgeous upper-90 blast off the left foot of Siphiwe Tshabalala. This had to be a huge relief for the players who are carrying the burden of the entire country's hopes.
Not surprisingly, the South African team could not hold the lead. Some very shoddy defending allowed Rafael Marquez to even the score in the 79th minute. On the play, a cross in from the left side, there were several unmarked Mexican players. It was an easy put away from Marquez.
The game, although not riddled with great scoring chances, was a nice start to the 2010 World Cup. The host country earned a point, and the Mexican team can feel good about not wasting several first chances and suffering a defeat.