Mexico vs. South Africa – Not Losing is Almost Winning

June 21st, 2010 Permalink

  Playing before the deafening drone of 85,000 vuvuzela-blowing fans with South African sympathies, a highly favored but “sloppy Mexican team” eked out a 1-1 draw against the host team during the World Cup’s opening game. Mexico—the 17th best team in the world—was expected to dominate the 83rd ranked South African squad, the second lowest […]

Mexico South Africa Draw
 

Playing before the deafening drone of 85,000 vuvuzela-blowing fans with South African sympathies, a highly favored but “sloppy Mexican team” eked out a 1-1 draw against the host team during the World Cup’s opening game.

Mexico—the 17th best team in the world—was expected to dominate the 83rd ranked South African squad, the second lowest position of a World Cup team. Only North Korea—or, the Orwellian-named “Democratic Republic of Korea,” as Coach Kim Jong -hun has insisted journalists covering the World Cup call his nation—is ranked lower.

Despite their standings, “The Boys,” as the South African team is known at home, made an impressive showing during the opener. After a scoreless first half, South African took the lead early on in the second when Siphiwe Tshabalala scored the first goal of the 2010 World Cup in the 55th minute, sending all of South Africa into a frenzy and the team’s players into a choreographed dance number.

South Africa’s lead, however, didn’t hold. In the final minutes of the match, Mexico’s Rafael Márquez sent strike blasting past goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune to even things up.

While a triumph it wasn’t, fans of El Tricolores in Tijuana went wild anyway, disregarding the fact that Mexico should have breezed past the South African team. With glass half-full optimism, Tijuanenses rushed into the streets of the city’s Zona Rio district for a roisterous Friday morning party, persuasively demonstrating that in a draw, while you can’t celebrate victory, you can always revel in not losing.

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