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World Cup Opening Match Ends In 1-1 Draw

Rafael Marquez scored to give Mexico a 1-1 draw with host South Africa on Friday in the opening game of the World Cup.

Andres Guardado floated in a left-footed cross from the left and Marquez was left completely unmarked to control the ball and score in the 79th minute.

Siphiwe Tshabalala had given the host team a dream start, finishing off a well-worked move in the 55th to set off wild celebrations at Soccer City.

The hosts strung together a fine series of passes from inside their own half and Teko Modise found Tshabala clear of the Mexican defence. With no one in support, the winger let fly with a powerful left-footed angled shot which flew past the goalkeeper into the far corner.

The South Africans came close to scoring a winner in the 90th when Katlego Mphela got clear of two markers but his shot hit the near post.

As pledged by coach Javier Aguirre, the Mexicans attacked in force from the kickoff and the hosts could have been a goal down inside the first two minutes when Khune fumbled a low cross. Giovani Dos Santos was presented with an easy shot at goal but South Africa captain Aaron Mokoena rescued his team with a well-timed block.

The attack-minded Mexicans continued to create chances but lacked accuracy and, when Carlos Vela had the ball in the net from a flicked-on corner, it was ruled offside.

Forced to defend for most of the time, the South Africans posed few threats but went close just before halftime. Tshabalala’s cross from the left found Mphela unmarked in front of goal but he failed to reach it with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Veteran Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Javier Hernandez came on for Mexico with less then 20 minutes to go.

Later Friday, France and Uruguay face each other in the other Group A match.