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Here's what's happening in semi-sunny South Africa today

Matchday 1


Friday 11 June 2010

15:00 South Africa v Mexico, Johannesburg (Soccer City), ITV
19:30 Uruguay v France, Cape Town, BBC

THE LOWDOWN

Uruguay have won the World Cup twice. That’s more wins than England, Spain, The Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino and Kenya combined. It doesn’t really count though, it happened ages ago – in 1930 and 1950.

History suggests a less than enthralling opening game this afternoon between South Africa and Mexico. Eight of the last 11 opening matches at World Cups have produced one goal or less and Mexico have appeared twice before in the tournament’s curtain raiser, failing to score on both occasions.

France boss Raymond Domenech took the leftfield step of proposing to his girlfriend, French TV presenter Estelle Denis moments after France were eliminated from Euro 2008. She said no. LOL.

On this day in 1990 Scotland continued their proud World Cup history with a 1-0 group stage loss to the footballing force that is Costa Rica.

MATCH OF THE DAY 15.00, ITV


SOUTH AFRICA vs MEXICO
Group A. Soccer City, Johannesburg. Capacity: 94,700

The world will be watching as Africa’s first ever World Cup kicks off with a poor host side taking on a Mexican team that’s rather unsurprisingly romped up the world rankings since dumping Sven-Goran Eriksson. For half an hour all eyes will be on South African security as they try to avoid any fascist leaders getting murdered. Then we’ll all turn to the game and realise it’s very dull and drastically needs someone to do something. That someone could be the Bafana Bafana’s head coach and 1994 World Cup winner with Brazil, Carlos Alberto Parreira. If he gets his boys to pass Steven Pienaar (below) the ball, they could upset 2009’s CONCACAF Gold Cup champions.

Steven Pienaar

PLAYER TO WATCH

STEVEN PIENAAR (above)

“He is a fantastic player, a skilful player. I enjoy watching him and I think he’s the best player in the South African team.” Someone said this about Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar recently. That someone was Cristiano Ronaldo. And he is right. Steven Pienaar is the best player in the South African team, by a significant distance. So if the Rainbow Nation do well it will be down to the man with impressive (if probably tough to maintain) dreadlocks. A fact the Bafana Bafana fans love. Why? Simple. Pienaar always has been and always will be a proud Jo’burg boy – a fact he proved by getting done for drink-driving this February.

 

WORLD CUP MINISITE WITH EXCLUSIVE NEWS, STATS AND VIDEOS FROM SOUTH AFRICA

HALF-TIME PUB QUIZ


1 Name the player who has played in the most World Cup matches?
2 How old was Roger Milla when he became the oldest player to play in a World Cup finals against Russia in 1994?
3 How many goals were scored in the highest scoring match in World Cup history?
4 Name the two people who have won the World Cup as both a player and a coach?

MATCH OF THE DAY 2


MISS SOUTH AFRICA vs MISS MEXICO

Who's hotter? Cast your votes in the comments box below.

Representing South Africa:

Candice Swanepoel

It's Candice Swanepoel out of modelling and YOUR DREAMS.

Representing Mexico:

Salma Hayek

It's only bloody Salma Hayek, who is the only FHM covergirl to date whose surname rhymes with kayak.

 

AND FINALLY

Watch out for World Cup fever, it's rumoured to be extremely contagious.

Check back at 11 for tomorrow for another First 11 World Cup Bulletin.