Hosts South Africa hope for World Cup lift off

Tags: Football 2016/17 League Cup

Published: 22:47 09/06/2010

Host nation South Africa open the 2010 World Cup on Friday as they take on Mexico, and excitement is building in the Rainbow Nation. Former President Nelson Mandela is too unwell to attend the opening ceremony in what has been a minor setback for the country. But the controversial Vuvuzelas are sure to be blasting as the first ever World Cup on African soil gets underway. It will be a fantastic achievement for Bafana Bafana to even get to the second round. In with 2006 finalists and 1998 winners France and the Diego Forlan spearheaded Uruguay, the odds are stacked against them. They may however take from the example of South Korea who sensationally reached the semi-finals in the 2002 tournament. Even Germany managed to exceed expectations under coach Jurgen Klinsmann in getting to the last four. Neutrals will be hoping that African sides to have a successful World Cup and in the case of the South Africans a positive result from Friday’s encounter will be essential. They have dropped talismanic striker Benny McCarthy from their squad in the run up to this year’s finals. But they still have good quality players in the shape of defensive rock Matthew Booth, although Everton’s dynamic midfielder Steven Pienaar must perform on the big stage to give his side a chance of making the latter stages. Mexico go into the fixture favourites though, and are 17/10 with William Hill to get three points from this one. The game is live on ITV1, with kick-off at 3pm. The opening ceremony is to take place beforehand. Odds correct at time of writing and are subject to change.

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