Chiang Mai residents
enjoyed the opening game of the World Cup 2010
at Chidlom Restaurant at
JJ Market. World Cup fever has swept across
Chiang Mai as people flocked
to their favorite bars, pubs and restaurants
to watch the match. The
opening game saw South Africa draw 1-1 against
Mexico in the first ever
World Cup to be held in Africa.
Johannesburg (AP) - South African celebrations
weren’t muted in any way by Mexico’s late equalizer as the hosts opened
the World Cup with a 1-1 draw last Friday that ended years of debate
over whether Africa would be ready in time to stage football’s marquee
The mood was tempered earlier in the day when news
emerged that anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela’s great granddaughter
was killed in a car accident on the eve of the tournament, sending the
family into shock and mourning.
But as the sun rose over Johannesburg, so did the
mood in the fan zones, downtown streets and dusty lanes, where the
revelry and the gridlock started many hours before kick-off, despite the
South Africa fans blow vuvuzelas following
their teams 1-1
draw with group rivals Mexico. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Vuvuzela horns blared in Soccer City and across the
nation and people danced in the streets, long before Siphiwe
Tshabalala’s stunning goal in the 55th minute gave South Africa the lead
over Mexico. Rafael Marquez’s equalizer in the 79th only briefly
silenced the 84,490-strong crowd in the main stadium.
The crowd erupted when Katlego Mphela hit the near
post in the 90th minute after getting clear of two markers, giving the
game the climax it warranted: South Africa were only millimeters from
victory in the first World Cup match on African soil, but Mexico earned
a deserved draw.
“I believe the ice has been broken ... and I believe
in the next match we will be even more confident,” South Africa coach
Carlos Alberto Parreira said. “We could easily have won the game. All in
all at the end a draw is a fair result.
“We are still in the competition. This group is very
At the end of the day, all four teams in Group A have
one point after France and Uruguay played out a comparatively dull
Local organizing committee chief Danny Jordaan he
couldn’t have asked for me.
“A capacity stadium, a host nation with a will to win,
an incredible atmosphere and spectacular football,” Jordaan said. “It is
just fantastic that the first goal of Africa’s first World Cup went to
South Africa, we really couldn’t have written a better script.
Showing their support for the
World Cup 2010, PR girls stroll through
Chiang Mai’s JJ Market on the
night of the opening match, Thursday, June 11.
“Today we have established a template for every city
and every town across South Africa to celebrate this World Cup.”
There was plenty of hype around France’s first Group
A match against Uruguay in Cape Town, but it didn’t deliver much in the
way of excitement.
France winger Franck Ribery and Uruguay striker Diego
Forlan showed flashes of their potential, but the fear of losing the
opening game stifled offensive tactics for much of the match.
An early goalmouth miss from France forward Sidney
Govou and excellent save from Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera left
Group A as wide open as possible.
While the loud, constant horn blowing has been a
feature of South African football revelry, the national team’s
goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was among the few who thought it wasn’t quite
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t blow a lot of
vuvuzelas, but let’s hopes in the next game we’ll blow more,” Khune
said. “There were not enough. It was more like a Mexico home game.
“Our advantage should have been the 12th player — the
supporters blowing those vuvuzelas,” Khune said. “Let’s hope in the next
game there will be more.”
The 91-year-old Mandela, who had campaigned to bring
the World Cup to his nation despite skepticism it could be pulled off,
mourned with his family and opted not to attend the match or the
colorful opening ceremony that preceded it.
Mandela and his family “are torn up by the passing
away of the child,” Nelson Mandela Foundation spokesman Sello Hatang
said. Mandela would be at the ceremony in spirit, he added.
The former president’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela,
and her two daughters, were at Soccer City. She was treated in hospital
for shock hours earlier after being told of the death of Zenani Mandela.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter wrote to Mandela,
describing the girl’s death as “unspeakably tragic.” Mandela will “be
with us in spirit for which we are incredibly grateful,” Blatter said,
calling him a “most precious friend.”
The male driver involved in the one-car crash was
charged with drunk driving, Johannesburg police spokeswoman Edna
Mamonyane said. The man could also face homicide charges, she said.
Police “found that he was drunk,” Mamonyane said. “He
lost control of the vehicle and it collided with a barricade.”
Mexico goalkeeper Oscar Perez, right, fails to
block the opening goal by South Africa’s Siphiwe Tshabalala, second from
left, during the World Cup Group A match between South Africa and Mexico
at Soccer City in Johannesburg on Friday, June 11. (AP Photo/Martin