Oh, to be home, sweet home! The first World Cup ever to be held on African soil will be such a sweet relief for the national team of South Africa.
<ul><li><p>South Africa vs Mexico</p><p>Oh, to be home, sweet home! The first World Cup ever tobe held on African soil will be such a sweet relief for thenational team of South Africa. This opening-game gala onJune 11th to kick off the 2010 World Cup versus Mexicowill be held in fine fashion in Johannesburg. A celebrationfor a nation coming together through apartheid, poverty,famine, and injustice, this third cup appearance for SouthAfrica will be its first since 2002. World cup betting willbe very interested in Mexico for this Cup, they could be asurprise team.</p><p>The Republic will feature a team that does not have much experience in such a large stage as this,but comes prepared to do battle with a nation of over 49 million behind it. The play of midfielderSteven Pienaar (club: Everton) will be the key for the attack. His creative style and aggressivemindset will set the tone for the pace of the offense. The captain of the team, and leader of thedefense, is Aaron Mokoena (Portsmouth). Known as The Axe, his relentless tackling ability willhelp bring toughness to a rather undersized lineup. The main focus for this team, though, has to beon its sideline. The coach, Brazilian-born Carlos Alberto Parreira, is regarded as one of the finestNational team coaches around. He led his native country to a World Cup trophy in 1994, and hasan extensive wealth of knowledge from being around the game so long.</p><p>Mexico, on the other hand, has been here numerous times before. This will be their 14thappearance on the grand stage, including making every World Cup since 1994. This time around,they bring a mix of veteran leadership and super-young talent to these games. Led by captainRafael Marquez (club: Barcelona) and wily 36-year-old magician midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco(Mexican club Veracruz), El Tri will be looking to make a statement on the opening night againstthe host country. With young talent like forward Carlos Vela (Arsenal) and speedy wingersGiovanni Dos Santos (Turkish club giant Galatasaray) and Andres Guardado (Deportivo), theMexicans have such an advantage in tactical terms that it will take a lot out of the African defenseto slow them down. And with Guillermo Ochoa (Club America) in goal for El Tri, they have asolid defense.</p><p>These two countries have never played against each other in a World Cup match, but havepreviously squared off with each other in friendlies. Mexico, ranked 17th in the FIFA WorldRankings, took two of the three, but the last one came nearly five years ago. So with new talent onthe field, especially in the case of the South Africans, ranked 90th, this match doesnt contain anyheated hatred or rivalry with it. That said, South Africa being the home country will make this avery tough game for World Cup betting.</p></li><li><p>So now that the time for glorious football is upon us, the question remains whether or not SouthAfrica will be a good host not just off the pitch, but on it as well. Last years ConfederationsCup, held on the same grounds, and produced exceeded results for the host nation. They survivedgroup play, and made it to the third-place game, a rousing success by their standards. If theyrepeat that same outcome this time around, all will be considered well. But alas, the spotlight willbe too bright, and with this opening game will come an immediate letdown for the Republic, astheir skill level will not be able to contain the talented Mexicans. The home support will at bestallow for a draw, but this opening match may put a bitter taste in the mouths of the natives if theycome away with a loss after the first game played. Who is your pick for this game? Head over towww.sportsbook.com and check out their full lines for the World Cup.</p><p>South Africa vs Mexico</p></li></ul>