World Cup Daily Recap: Draws for all in Group A

World Cup Daily Recap: Draws for all in Group A

World Cup 2010

World Cup Daily Recap: Draws for all in Group A

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Photo by Joe Toth/ISIphotos.com

By AVI CREDITOR

After the first round of games for the World Cup's Group A, not a whole lot has been cleared up.

South Africa yielded a late goal to Mexico in their tournament-opening, 1-1 draw, and Uruguay and France played a forgettable 90 minutes in their scoreless tie, meaning that all four teams have earned a point with two games remaining in group play.

The host country looked ready to post a shocking result after Siphiwe Tshabalala confidently finished a left-footed shot and gave the Bafana Bafana a 1-0 lead over favored Mexico in the 55th minute.

After controlling most of the run of play, El Tri didn't crumble, persevering to find a 79th-minute equalizer through captain Rafael Marquez to emerge from a vuvuzela-laden Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg with a draw.

Mexico thought it had gone ahead in the 37th minute, when Carlos Vela finished a flicked-on corner at the goal mouth. However, South African keeper Itumeleng Khune had come way off his line to defend the set piece, thus making Vela offside.

Khune came up big in the 60th minute, robbing Giovanni Dos Santos on a shot aimed for the upper right-hand corner of the net.

Katlego Mphela almost gave the hosts a dream winner just minutes from full time, but his shot on a breakaway attempt caromed off the left post. Nevertheless, South Africa avoided becoming the first host nation to lose the opening match of the tournament.

Here are highlights from the match:



URUGUAY 0, FRANCE 0

Raymond Domenech's Team Turmoil failed to take advantage of a sizable possession disparity, as 10-man Uruguay held strong to earn the point at Cape Town's Green Point Stadium.

Thierry Henry and Florent Malouda, both substitutes, entered in the game's final 20 minutes but didn't have enough time to break down Uruguay's organized back line.

France went up a man when Uruguay's 63rd-minute substitute Nicolas Lodeiro picked up his second yellow in the 81st minute. Despite the advantage, Henry & Co. couldn't find a winner. Henry's best chance came in front of the goal in the 88th minute, when his shot was blocked by a Uruguay defender. The French appealed for a handball, but the referee (and karma gods) made the correct ruling of no penalty.

Prolific Uruguay striker Diego Forlan had two of the game's best chances. He was denied by France keeper Hugo Lloris on an 18-yard shot in the first half, and he misfired from inside the box on a golden chance off a throw-in in the 73rd minute.

Here are highlights from the match:

Uruguay resumes group play against South Africa on Wednesday, and France and Mexico will meet on Thursday to wrap up a crucial second set of group games.

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What did you think of Friday's games? Surprised that Mexico couldn't defeat South Africa? Like South Africa's goal celebration? Disappointed by France's showing? Impressed by Uruguay's defense? Who do you think will emerge from the group?

Share your thoughts below.

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