Mexico ties South Africa to open Cup

The frustration of the Mexican team wasn’t exactly because they had in front a strong opponent and couldn’t defeat them.

But it was its own mistakes that brought El Tri to play a bland 1-1 draw with host team South Africa at the World Cup 2010 on Friday.

Mexico’s Coach Javier Aguirre felt impotent and couldn’t feel any better even after defender Rafael Marquez scored for El Tri.

“I’m not happy with our performance today,” said Aguirre. “We played really badly after their goal and we had to work extremely hard to get back into it. That was the key factor to my mind.”

The game

The Soccer City Stadium was packed. The horns deafened an attendance of 84,490 spectators that witnessed the first kick of the most important soccer tournament in the world.

South Africa had all the pressure. The ‘Bafana Bafana’ couldn’t be the first in the history of World Cups in losing the opening game as the host country.

Mexico had nothing to lose. On the contrary, the green team had too many things to work with, before the match against France.

Aguirre was unable to fix the same problem they had during the last six games of preparation, previous to the World Cup.

Mexico had many opportunities to score in many occasion but they just couldn’t put the ball into the net.

The visitors controlled the first half of the game, had a good ball possession and based their attack on the left touchline as well as the centre of the field.

Forward Carlos Vela, missed a clear opportunity of goal in front of the net. Guillermo Franco wasted three chances to put his team ahead.

On the other hand, South Africa was imprecise and showed no technique. They missed almost all the passes and were unable to give continuity to its game.

The teams went to the dressing room tied to zeros after the first half.

In the second half, the roles changed.

Mexico had lack of order and had no depth. And it was midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala who was lucky enough to have a counter-attack and score the first goal of the tournament with a superb kick that went right to the left side of Mexico’s net at ’54.

The goal instantly put out of balance the Mexican team.  Aguirre made a few changes keeping the attack that later helped the team to tie the game.

Deportivo’s Andres Guardado delivered beautifully the ball that defender Rafael Marquez pushed into the net.

The tie benefits both teams and it seems that they were just preparing for their next game in the Tournament. Mexico and France will clash Thursday at 2:30. South Africa and Uruguay will meet Tuesday at 2:30.