Mexico v South Africa

1st Half:

Paul Aguilar  and Giovani “Dad says I can’t play unless you let my brother on the team too” Dos Santos running rampant for Mexico early doors. RSA look very uncomfortable in general and in particular on crosses.

South Africa gradually getting better but Mexico have clearly been watching their Barca videos as they dominate possession. RSA reduced to diving for free kicks around the box which Pienaar wastes.

Sharp call on the offside goal but South Africa keeper Khune and his back four look like catholic choirboys in the priest’s back room: very uncomfortable with people moving in behind them and swinging crosses around…

Goalless at the half but a lively start with South Africa coming on strong.

SIDE NOTE: Never seen so many players, at this level, with the same boots on. Nike’s guerilla marketing department have outdone themselves.

2nd Half:

Tshabala gives the game exactly what it needs and does so with nerves of steel. A goal for the ages.  Mexico’s retort? Bring on Blanco! If Blanco is Plan B, bring on Plan C. Leaden first touch, predictable back heel and the pace and gait of a penguin (with the added coincidence of a similar anatomical structure where head meets body).

Sadly for the hosts but inevitably given their defending on crosses, Marquez levels things after being one of three open players at the far post. So open he can bring the cross down and finish calmly past Khune. This proves two things. Your defending on crosses is five miles past Shocking-ville if a centre-back can bring down a cross in your box (when you have at least six players in there to start) and that when the chips are down and you really need a goal: SEND A CENTREBACK!

Good chances right through to the end for both teams with Mphela left with a sleepless night after clanking one off the post in the final minute.

Great start.

Soft yellow card count: 2 (both the Mexican ones were overzealous from a ref who otherwise did a very good job)

UPDATE: video of Mexico’s goal shows it was schoolboy defending that allowed it to happen. Everyone pushes up to the edge of the box in anticipation of the cross. Except Mokoena (#4). He keeps three Mexicans onside include goalscorer Marquez. Brutal.

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