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Rupert Wyman 10th Jun 2010 - 13:18

Mexico to beat Bafana Bafana

Tomorrow the host country, South Africa kicks off the World Cup in Johannesburg against the tricky Mexicans.

The Bafana Bafana will be buoyed by immense rapturous home support. Back in 2002, the hosts South Korea who were viewed by some as whipping boys, managed to reach the semi-finals, so fairytales can come true.

However it is difficult to judge exactly how good the South Africans will be this World Cup. They have mainly played friendly matches over the past couple of years against fairly average opposition.

South Africa's coach, the Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira has stated that he believes his team can reach the knock-out stages and with an impressive record of 12 games undefeated under the Brazilian's guidance, the stat suggests that South Africa have a chance.

Had the Mexicans been playing at a neutral venue, they would not be 7/4 for the win. They could easily be odds-on, they were excellent when they recently beat Italy 2-1 in a friendly. England struggled against the El Tri at Wembley and I think they should have too much quality for South Africa.

South Africa are priced at 13/8 for the win, they have an impressive captain in Portsmouth's Aaron Mokoena and a gifted world class playmaker in Pienaar. However across the rest of the playing squad, there is a real lack of quality. They will depend heavily on these players to carry the rest of the team forward.

Parreira is confident enough in his South Africa team, that he does not feel the need to call-up the un-fit obese Benni McCarty.

Mexico have played eight friendlies leading up to the World Cup, their star players  Arsenal's Vela and Barcelona's  Marquez are fully fit. They are technically a fantastic team and they have Franco or Blanco to fill the central role in a front three.

For Mexico, they are used to playing at high altitudes and the 1,800-metre Johannesburg altitude will pose no problems for footballers used to playing at such dizzy heights.

The draw is 21/10 and it could prove to be popular amongst punters, both teams will want to get off to a good start in the group and may be cautious. A point for each team would not be a disaster and with the inconsistent French playing in the group, there could be a few surprise results.

With both sides playing cautiously, total match goals at Under 2 at 7/4 could be a fantastic bet. I cannot see the opening match being a goalfest.

The match is a chance for Man Utd fans to see their new young hot-shot Javier Hernandez play on the world stage, he is 11/2 to open the scoring.



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