Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mexico vs south africa 2010

This is it. After years of planning and worrying, the first World Cup on African soil starts here, with hosts South Africa taking on Mexico. No host country has ever failed to advance past the first round, and with France on the horizon, the Bafana boys may very well need something from this game to keep that record going. But Mexico has reached the knockout rounds of the last four World Cups, something only three other countries can say. Should be a cracking start to the tournament.
The first match of the group stage sets the tone, and a win or at least a point is vitally important. For both teams, obviously, but maybe more so for South Africa. If the hosts make a losing start then all that pre-tournament optimism starts to deflate. If they avoid defeat it increases. Big question will be: Where do the goals come from? All time top scorer Benni McCarthy was not selected, but Mamelodi Sundowns striker Katlego Mphela has found the net regularly in recent friendlies. If he can keep that going, South Africa are suddenly a much more dangerous team. Read our South Africa team profile for more.

For Mexico it’s all about the youngsters settling in and oldsters keeping up: How quickly will starlets like Carlos Vela, Gio dos Santos and Javier Hernández settle into their first World Cup? How long will the grand old man CuauhtĂ©moc Blanco last before tiring? Read our Mexico team profile for more.As well as the on-field events, there’s the perception of this World Cup at stake. What will the crowds be like? Will the vuvuzelas be enjoyable or intolerable? Will everything go smoothly? Let’s hope for a great start to a great World Cup.

Bet on South Africa v. Mexico

South Africa: GK: Khune, Josephs, Walters; DF: Gaxa, Ngcongca, Mokoena, Booth, Khumalo, Sangweni, Masilela, Thwala; MF: Modise, Davids, Letsholonyane, Sibaya, Khuboni, Dikgacoi, Pienaar, Tshabalala; FW: Moriri, Parker, Mphela, Nomvethe; Coach: Carlos Alberta Parreira

Mexico: GK: Perez, Ochoa, Michel; DF: Marquez, Osorio, Rodriguez, Salcido, Moreno, Aguilar, Juarez, Magallon, Torres Nilo; MF: Guardado, Torrado, Castro, Giovani dos Santos; FW: Barrera, Bautista, Medina, Blanco, Vela, Hernandez, Franco; Coach: Javier Aguirre
Steven Pienaar is Bafana Bafana’s most gifted player. For South Africa to succeed, they need Everton midfielder Pienaar to have an influential game and make something happen. Bad news is that if Pienaar plays right wing for South Africa (as he often does) then he’ll be up against Mexico’s very accomplished and very experienced Carlos Salcido, who plays in the Eredivisie for PSV. It’s a stretch to say the match turns on that matchup, but it will definitely be a factor. Unless Pienaar plays more centrally. In which case the key matchup is still Pienaar vs whoever is marking him. He’s that important.

Mexico has to be considered the stronger side, but home pitch means a lot, and a little help from the referee isn’t unheard of for the host country either. We’re calling this one a 1-1 draw that will keep both sides alive in the hunt for knockout qualification.