Jumat, 11 Juni 2010

Group A: Opening day draws

The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicked off today with a match in Group A.

(to be updated after the second game)

South Africa 1-1 (0-0) Mexico
Goals: 1-0 Siphiwe Tshabalala (55'), 1-1 Rafael Marquez (79').

The first match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg ended 1-1 between hosts South Africa and Mexico.
In the opening minutes South Africa looked very nervous, while their opponents Mexico looked confident and willing to spoil the hosts party. Talented youngster Giovanni dos Santos was the pick of the lot in the Mexican attack coming close to scoring on a number of occasions, but Mexico's dominance on the field didn't result in any goals and the first half ended goalless. But Mexico did score an offside goal through Carlos Vela which caused some confusion as there was a player on the goal line, but the goalkeeper Khune had moved forward after a corner, which meant the last man rule came in.

It was a more even game after the break with South Africa shrugging off their nervousness. And then came the 55th minute when Siphiwe Tshabalala scored the tournament opening goal with a left-footed scorcher to give South Africa the 1-0 lead. The whole stadium, most probably the whole of South Africa, went into ecstasy. And initially it looked like Mexico were shocked after conceding the goal, but they fought their way back into the match and got the deserving equaliser in the 79th minute when Rafael Marquez scored past Itumeleng Khune in the South African goal. Thereafter it was an open game with mostly half chances on both sides, but in a late counter attack Katlego Mphela could have become South Africa's hero as his shot hit the post. The match ended one-all and got us off to an entertaining start to this World Cup.


Uruguay 0-0 (0-0) France
Goals: none.

France were held to a goalless draw by a ten men Uruguay at the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. And history does repeat itself at it was proved once more tonight. Eight years ago in their second Group A match these sides had played a goalless draw in South Korea and in that tournament these two teams went home after the group stages. But we aren't so far yet.
France was the better of the two sides as Uruguay played a rather defensive game, but the South Americans were dangerous on a number of occasions through their seasoned striker Diego Forlan, while his partner upfront Luis Suarez didn't have a good game.
The story of the first half is fast said. France tried to attack the Uruguay goal, who were standing tall in defence, and failed with only once with a real good chance when Franck Ribery broke through on the left and played the ball into the middle and Sidney Govou got a touch on it, but the ball went wide. On the other side Forlan's shot was saved by Hugo Lloris.
After the break France continued to try their luck, but coach Domenech realised he would have to change something and he brought on Tierry Henry, Florant Malouda and André-Pierre Gignac. It did give the attack some more teeth, but still France remained goalless. Uruguay ventured out more the longer the match lasted, but in the 81st minute substitute Nicolas Lodeiro received marching orders for a second bookable offence. And in the last ten minutes France tried everything to score a goal, but the Uruguay defence held until the end. The last chance for France came late in injury time, but a Tierry Henry freekick was headed away by Christian Abreu.

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