Pattaya Daily News

12 June 2010 :: 12:06:39 pm 24860

World Cup Opener Fails to Set the Pace as France Struggle

After a pulsating opening to the FIFA World Cup 2010 between host nation South Africa and the red-hot Mexicans, fellow Group A rivals France and Uruguay played out a boring goalless draw despite the later being reduced to 10-men towards the end of the second-half.
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South Africa, the 12th of June 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: The opening match of the much anticipated tournament saw the South African team, commonly known as Bafana Bafana, perform admirably in their efforts to avoid being the first World Cup host nation to be knocked out of the tournament at the group stage.

Mexico initially dominated the possession with the Bafana Banfana obviously nervous in what is their first ever World Cup appearance, however after brief periods of defensive uncertainty the South Africans came through with the opening goal in the 55th minute through a fierce left-foot drive by Siphiwe Tshabalala.

Playing in front of more than 84,000 passionate fans at the futuristic Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, the Bafana Bafana could not hang on as the superior technique of the much hyped Mexicans eventually came through with a 79th minute close range effort by Rafael Marquez.

Presented with an opportunity to assert themselves as group leaders following the opening match draw between their Group A rivals, France looked decidedly off-beat and at times restricted in the final third of the park. They eventually limped to a 0-0 draw against South Americans, Uruguay.

Although initially starting the match well, playing an unusually 4-3-3 tactic to match that used by their counterparts, France failed to capitalise on their chances despite Uruguay being completely restricted in their attacking play. Abou Diaby was the pick of the lot for France in the first half, a late inclusion after Florent Malouda had been left on the bench by Coach Raymond Domenech following an alleged training ground bust-up, making several incisive runs and always looking a danger to the opposition when on the ball.

Following the interval Uruguay started to find some ground, instigating several well timed attacking raids down the flanks only for Athletico Madrid’s Diego Forlan to fire the chances wide and long on several occasions. A late second yellow for Nicolas Lodeiro saw Uruguay reduced to 10-men, but France could not find a way through despite the second-half presence of Malouda and Thierry Henry.

So after an indifferent start to 2010 FIFA World Cup let’s hope that the action heats up in tonight’s Group B matches, South Korea v Greece and Argentina v Nigeria. Also playing at the later kickoff time tonight is the transatlantic derby match of England v USA. Their Group C match will be played out at the impressive Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.

Reporter : Harry Roberts   Photo : Internet   Category : Sports News

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