The first match saw host South Africa play to a 1-1 draw against Mexico. The offshore betting odds had favored Mexico in this match but South Africa did enough to get the tie.
Bookmaker odds favor France to win Group A while Uruguay, Mexico and South Africa are expected to battle for second place. The draw for South Africa was extremely important since teams that lose their opening match in the World Cup almost never make it to the knockout round.
South Africa actually had the lead in this match and Mexico was looking like they might actually take the loss until Rafael Marquez scored in the 79th minute tied the game. The two teams played to a scoreless first half although Mexico had the better chances. In the second half it was Siphiwe Tshabalala getting the first goal of the match in the 55th minute. South Africa nearly got the win vs. the soccer odds at the bookmaker late in the match but Katlego Mphela hit the post in the 90th minute.
The first half was really dominated by Mexico. Early in the match it was Mexico attacking and South Africa goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune nearly handed Mexico the opening goal. Mexico scored a goal when Carlos Vela put one into the next but he was called offside. The only real threat for South Africa in the first half came late when Tshabalala just missed Mphela. That chance seemed to inspire South Africa as their momentum carried into the second half and just minutes in, Teko Modise found Tshabalala clear and he put a shot past Mexico goalkeeper Oscar Perez into the top corner. It was looking like that might be enough for South Africa to get the win vs. bookmaker odds until Marquez tied the game in the 79th minute.
The draw vs. the offshore betting odds kept both Mexico and South Africa alive in Group A. France is the bookmaker favorite but they are not unbeatable and Uruguay is not considered a world power. An opening match loss could have ended either Mexico or South Africa’s chances but the draw keeps them both alive in Group A.