Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup 2010 Game 1: South Africa 1, Mexico 1

I've attended one World Cup game in person, when Mexico defeated Bulgaria in 1986. Probably because of that experience, I've never quite disliked the Mexican side the way some USA or Concacaf fans do. (Though, to be honest, the team makes it hard for me to not dislike then with their thuggish fouls when playing the USA and boorish behavior.) Then again, I'm one of those rare Duke fans who doesn't necessarily root against UNC when they are playing someone else.

It seemed during the draw that everyone wanted the USA in the bracket with South Africa since it was allegedly the weakest team from that pool. Yet, oddly, the host nation has next lost an opening game, so one wonders about that. On the one hand, of course, they might have finished better than Mexico against some shaky defense. On the other hand, Mexico got robbed of a goal on a phantom offside call (though apparently it was not a bad call after all because the goal keeper was on the other side--rare play), and one wonders if the USA would have had the tenacity to fight through that sort of bad call or would have just resigned themselves to "here we go again."

It was an exciting opener that included a late deflection off the goal post. With France not looking good in qualifying yet being France, this group looks like it could go any way. I would not be surprised to see any two teams come out of the group. Pressure is solidly on Mexico who has had their game against the weakest side of the group...yet they withstood the pressure of playing the opener.

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