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South Africans earn hard-fought point in World Cup opener

South Africa's Siphiwe Tshabalala, third from left, celebrates

South Africa's Siphiwe Tshabalala, third from left, celebrates with fellow team members after scoring the opening goal during the 2010 World Cup. (June 11, 2010) Credit: AP

South Africa had its entire country at the edge of its seat today in the opening game of the 2010 World Cup as they maintained a 1-0 lead deep into the second half. But, Mexico's veteran midfielder Rafael Marquez netted the equalizer in the 79th minute and that's the way it remained as each team mustered a point to start the world's most popular tournament.

With vuvuzelas blaring for 90-plus minutes, South Africa proved it has every intention of advancing out of Group A despite being the lowest-ranked team of the quad. Siphiwe Tshabalala's sublime, left-footed strike in the 55th-minute gave the host nation a 1-0 lead.

PHOTOS: World Cup 2010 highlights

Late in the game, South Africa's Katlego Mphela made a nice run into the box, but couldn't get a good boot on his shot, which clanked off the outside of the near post. Mexico's biggest near-miss wasn't a miss at all. They scored off a corner in the first half, but the goal was called back due to offside.

In the other Group A match, Uruguay takes on France at 2:30 p.m.

South Africa's next assignement is Wednesday against Uruguay at 2:30 p.m. Mexico takes on France Thursday at 7:30 a.m.


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