2010 FIFA World Cup: Day 1

11 June, 2010 at 13:00 (GMT+01:00)


Sidepodcast F1: Motorsport and football exist in perfect harmony as F1 stars Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher take to the pitch.

Credit: Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images

Motorsport and football exist in perfect harmony as F1 stars Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher take to the pitch.

Here we are. Four years of talk since the infamous 2006 World Cup in Germany, four years after the Zidane headbutt, the fourteen cards between Portugal and the Netherlands and yet another England defeat on penalites. The world is invited to South Africa, 32 nations are taking part in the biggest sporting event on the planet.

Over the next month, 64 matches will take place to determine who is the best team in the world. Shocks are almost guaranteed. We start and end in Johannesburg, and the 90,000 capacity Soccer City Stadium. The first game will be between the hosts South Africa and Mexico, but it is highly unlikely we will see either of those teams back on July 11th.

The opening day usually sees some fantastic matches. 2006 saw Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2, including a goal from Philip Lahm which was a contender for goal of the tournament. In 2002, one of the biggest ever shocks took place as the reigning World Cup champions France lost 1-0 to the unlikley heroes of Senegal.

The games

South Africa v Mexico, Soccer City Stadium, Kick Off: 15:00 BST, ITV1

The first game of the tournament. While neither team on paper are expected to go far, this is an interesting match. Both teams have had good runs in the build-up and an unbeaten run which goes back to November last year, wins include games against Denmark and Bulgaria. Mexico on the other hand have had a mixed warm up. Despite impressing against England, they lost 3-1, but, they did beat Italy 2-1. Players to watch are Steven Piennar for South Africa and Carlos Vela for Mexico

Uruguay v France, Cape Town Stadium, Kick Off: 19:30 BST, BBC1

Ask any roll of the mill football fan the list of World Cup winners, most will name the obvious, Brazil, Italy, Germany etc. But not many will remember the two wins for the once impressive Uruguay side. They aren't as good as they used to be, but along with all South American teams in the tournament they are dangerous opposition. France, only in the finals thanks to a little hand from Thierry Henry, are a shambles. The crazy coach of Raymond Domenech who is finally leaving at the end of the tournament (hooray). He is so bad, he once asked his girlfriend to marry him, live on air during a press conference, after his team had been knocked out of Euro 2008. Key players in this game will be Franck Ribery for France and Luis Suarez for Uruguay.

So those are the games today, you can follow the games on the ITV and BBC websites if you are in the UK (or if not, still follow the BBC Live Text which is awesome). If you aren't, wikipedia has a full list of stations which are airing the games in your country.

The countdown is almost finishing, the greatest football event in the world is just about to begin.

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