—END OF LOAD TAG—>
|Lucas Thwala (Tsepo Masilela, 46)|
|Steven Pienaar (Bernard Parker, 83)|
|Paul Aguilar (Andres Guardado, 55)|
|Dos Santos Giovani|
|Luis Guillermo Franco (Balcazar Javier Hernandez, 73)|
|Carlos Alberto Vela (Cuauhtemoc Blanco, 69)|
Full Time: SOUTH AFRICA 1-1 MEXICO.
A draw is just about the right result. Mexico dominated the first half but South Africa edged the second period and created the better chances. It's been an entertaining opening game though.
South Africa are so close to a winner. Mphela races on to a long ball forward and manages to get in a shot that beats Perez only to come back off the post.
Blanco may be 37 but he still has the skill as he whips in a dangerous cross that no team-mate can latch on to.
Reneilwe Letsholonyane is lucky not be booked for a weary challenge as South Africa hang on for the draw.
The hosts look tired while Mexico sense a winner.
South Africa make a second change as Pienaar is replaced by Bernard Parker.
South Africa could be hanging on for a draw now as the Mexicans have been revitalised by that goal.
SOUTH AFRICA 1-1 MEXICO. South Africa get caught cold at a short corner. Poor marking leaves three Mexicans unmarked and it is MARQUEZ who has the simple task of ramming the ball home at the far post.
At last Mexico earn a corner. They desperately need to make this count.
Mexico have nowhere to go when they're attacking. South Africa's transformation in the second half has been remarkable.
South Africa are showing no sign of crumbling, indeed they are looking the more likely side to score.
Mexico make their final change with Javier Hernandez replacing Franco.
South Africa are much tighter now with Mexico struggling to build up any momentum.
Tsepo Masilela is rightly booked for a very rash challenge.
The ineffective Vela is replaced by veteran striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco.
Nothing from Mexico at all so they decide to make a change.
South Africa look comfortable with the Mexicans looking to Giovani for inspiration. He's not providing any at the moment.
Still no sign of life from Mexico, they must really be rueing all those waste first-half chances.
Mexico look a little shell-shocked and the hosts appear in control of the match at this stage.
The brilliant Giovani powers in a left-footed drive that forces Khune to make a smart stop.
Mexico try to hit back but will be shocked at going behind after being so much on top for most of the first half.
A frustrated Gerardo Torrado is booked for a blatant body-check.
Mexico respond to going a goal behind by bringing on Andres Guardado for Aguilar.
SOUTH AFRICA 1-0 MEXICO. Mexico are caught short at the back allowing TSHABALALA to race down the left before lashing an unstoppable shot home.
Indeed Mexico have many of the same traits as Arsenal. Lovely approach play and a determination to score the perfect goal rather than net ugly.
Giovani is the best player on the pitch but too many of his team-mates don't seem to be on the same wavelength.
There's a great deal to enjoy about this game but both sides lack a cutting edge.
South Africa have started the second half very brightly. Some of their passing moves are breathtaking but still no end-product from either side as yet.
Tshabalala whips in another cross and Masilela has to be at his best to turn it away from danger.
Much of Mexico's attacking threat came down that flank so it is an astute piece of thinking by the Bafana Bafana coach.
Parreira has made a change at left-back for the second half with Lucas Thwala making way for Tsepo Masilela.
South Africa get the second half underway.
Half Time: SOUTH AFRICA 0-0 MEXICO.
South Africa are ending the half strongly as Katlego Mphela just fails to get his head to Siphiwe Tshabalala's teasing cross with Perez stranded.
Perez comes for a corner but fails to claim it. The Mexico keeper has looked weak in the few times he has been called upon.
Another Mexico chance. Franco gets his head to Giovani's curling free-kick but the former West Ham striker loops the ball over the bar when he should really have scored.
Mexico have the ball in the back of the net but Vela's effort is rightly ruled out for offside. Terrible marking at the corner by the hosts though.
Vela and Franco combine to set up Giovani whose left-footed shot is deflected away for a corner.
Mexico are stepping up the pace again - they should really be at least one goal ahead on the balance of play.
Mexico fashion another great opening but Carlos Alberto Vela's ball in from the right is neither a shot nor a cross and the opportunity is wasted.
Best chance so far. A patient build-up by Mexico ends with Luis Guillermo Franco taking the ball on his chest and getting in a shot that Khune blocks with his right arm.
After making a horrendous start to the match, South Africa are now edging things territorially.
They'll be blaming the new ball soon as Rafael Marquez's free-kick sails over the crossbar.
Kagisho Dikgacoi trips the excellent Giovani and is booked for his troubles.
It's a much more even affair now with a good tempo to the match although clear-cut chances remain at a premium.
Oscar Perez fumbles a low cross but is able to gather the ball before it crosses the line. Better by Bafana Bafana though.
South Africa are playing some good stuff now with Pienaar at the hub of most of their good work.
Khune claims Paul Aguilar's hanging cross well. The keeper has looked steady since his second-minute clanger.
The resulting free-kick is easily cleared by Mexico and, when they break, Giovani surges through the heart of the South Africa defence before lashing his shot wide.
Efrain Juarez is somewhat unfortunate to be the first player of the tournament to be booked, for handball.
Pienaar takes it but the ball flies way, way over the bar.
Good move by South Africa, their best of the match so far, ends with them winning a free-kick 30 yards out but central.
Giovani is still pulling all the strings. Harry Redknapp will be watching with interest after sending the Mexican out on loan this season.
The game finally settles down with Mexico slowing the pace of the match down after their early onslaught.
Mexico will be keen to make the breakthrough while they are so much in the ascendancy.
Steven Pienaar is hacked down in midfield as South Africa try to settle. They look out of their depth so far though.
Mexico are first to every ball whilel South Africa are chasing shadows.
Desperate, desperate defending by South Africa. Giovani is behind everything good that is coming from Mexico in the opening minutes.
It's been a very nervy start by the hosts as they only just survive another goalmouth scramble.
Mexico almost grab a dramatic early breakthrough, Itumeleng Khune parries a cross straight to Giovani dos Santos only for Aaron Mokoena to make a timely intervention.
After all the pre-match pleasantries, and there were a lot of them, Mexico get the match and the World Cup underway.
Mexico recovered from Sven-Goran Eriksson's dire spell in charge to qualify for these finals and will be confident of progressing from Group A and going on to match their record in 1970 and 1986 when they reached the last eight.
Carlos Alberto Parreira has revived South Africa's fortunes and they go into this match in good heart despite their dismal performances at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.
It promises to be an exciting opening game with the Bafana Bafana, tipped to be group embarrassments until embarking on a 13-match unbeaten run recently, take on a Mexico side that beat Italy 2-1 earlier this month.
At last, 33 long days since the last round of Premier League fixtures, the World Cup is upon us with hosts South Africa taking on Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg.
Whats a more impressive feat for a manager leading a group of stars to the title, or guiding a