Johannesburg A joyous day for South Africa. A not quite perfect result.
South Africa gave up the lead on a goal by Mexico’s Rafael Marquez in the 79th minute and settled for a 1-1 draw Friday before 84,000 horn-blaring fans, whose euphoria over the start of the first World Cup on the continent was only slightly dimmed by the tie.
The match followed a day of celebration throughout all of Africa — though the excitement was tempered by the death of Nelson Mandela’s great-granddaughter in a car accident on the eve of the opener.
Siphiwe Tshabalala had given the host nation a dream start, finishing off an excellent move in the 55th minute to set off wild celebrations at Soccer City. But the South Africans left defender Marquez open, and he collected a left-wing cross to score the tying goal.
“We could easily have won the game,” coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said. “All in all, at the end a draw is a fair result. We are still in the competition, this group is very tough.”
Uruguay 0, France 0
Cape Town, South Africa — A match between former champions produced an opening day World Cup dud.
Even if some of the tournament’s top stars showed flashes, the fear of losing the opening game stifled both offenses.
“It is almost a beautiful 0-0,” France coach Raymond Domenech said. “But the result is what it is.”