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Shooting the Breeze: World Cup 2010

An eventful start to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa saw Group A kick off with a pair of draws after a lavish opening ceremony today.

An eventful start to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa saw Group A kick off with a pair of draws after a lavish opening ceremony today.

Sadly, Nelson Mandela didn't feel he could attend the opening ceremony to this historic World Cup - the first in Africa - after the death of his great grand-daughter in a car crash yesterday.

South Africa 2010 was well served for the British public on a variety of media. People who were still at work were able to watch the match on TV, on the internet, listen on the radio, and read text updates on the BBC website. Many will have been near a TV or radio, but an increasing number of people have been able to get the latest information on the world cup on their smart phones, which can now access the internet at speeds similar to home broadband from 5 years ago.

As hosts, the pre-match talk was all about South Africa and whether they could avoid defeat in their first match and qualify from their group - a feat managed by every single other World Cup host team.

South Africa were lucky to keep a clean sheet after early Mexican dominance throughout the first half failed to convert into goals. Organisation and a slice of luck has helped the hosts get over the first hurdle, and if Lady Luck had been smiling a little more on South Africa they might have snatched an unlikely win while roared on by an enthusiastic home crowd and the unmistakable sound of vuvuzela horns which will infuse all the other games at this tournament.

Siphiwe Tshabalala should be rightfully proud of his barnstorming opener for Bafana Bafana in the second half, taking the ball on the edge of the area and then literally banging it into the top corner in true Roy of the Rovers style with a sweetly struck left footed drive. The goal celebration was inevitably shared throughout the country.

Mexico were stunned but fought to get back into the game and the equaliser was the least they deserved 10 minutes from time when Rafael Marquez popped up to level the scores.

It wasn't all over, though, and if Katiego Mphela's left footed shot from a long clearance from Khune had gone in with added time beckoning the home support would have had a lot more to celebrate but, in the end, the draw was probably the fairest result.

If the South Africa match was good, the Uruguay v France match was a little disappointing in contrast but not far short of drama.

With an 80 goal strikeforce but little creativity supporting their star forwards, Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, Uruguay were there for the taking but France's superstars were strangely listless and lacking in width and went into the match on the back of rumours of discontent in the squad and with Thierry Henry and Florent Malouda on the bench.

There may have been no goals in this game but there was a red card, ironically going to the nominal Uruguayan playmaker Nicolas Lodiero who earned his second yellow card not long after coming on as a sub with a badly timed tackle on Bacary Sagna with 10 minutes to go.

France didn't go for the jugular, though, and Uruguay managed to survive a storm of French pressure which came too late at the very end of the match.


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