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World Cup Friday Opening Match Previews

Tomorrow the World Cup begins and in the tournament opener Mexico faces host South Africa and 2006 finalist France faces Uruguay.

Mexico vs. South Africa

Bovada has this match as near even odds with Mexico posted at +155 and South Africa posted at +175 with a goal total of 2.5.

According to FIFA rankings Mexico ranks 17th and South Africa ranks 83rd.

South Africa has a tough task to make it out of Group A, as the biggest thing they have going for them is their raucous home crowd.

It is interesting that every host has advanced to the knockout phase of the World Cup, but that streak may be in jeopardy this time around, as South Africa is the long shot to make it out of Group A.

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Attacking midfielder Steven Pienaar is South Africa’s big name player and he will be counted on to provide some offense in this game. However, since South Africa does not feature great forwards he will be keyed on by the Mexico defense.

South Africa has had major problems scoring for quite some time and they may have to rely on the counter-attack in order to net some goals in this match.

Mexico has a solid midfield and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who has played great in the recent Mexico tune-ups for the World Cup, leads their offense. He will be teamed up with Giovani Dos Santos and Carlos Vela and this trio will be tough for the South African defense to contain.

Mexico is a much better team on paper and if they can deal with the home crowd they should win this match.

France vs. Uruguay

Sports Interaction has France as the favorites in this match posted at +105 with Uruguay at +260 with a goal total of 2.5.

According to FIFA rankings France ranks ninth and Uruguay ranks 16th.

France is the favorite to win Group A, but they are not heading into the World Cup playing well, especially after losing to China in their last World Cup tune-up.

Uruguay has not advanced past the group stage of the World Cup since 1990 and they can really help themselves to do that in South Africa if they can, at least, play to a draw in this match.

Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez are the main strikers for Uruguay and they have to play well in this match and take advantage of the opportunities they get, as there may not be many, as France will likely control the time of possession in this match.

Uruguay has a solid defense and they will need to key on the French strikers of Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka. Defensive anchor Diego Lugano will be counted on to keep these guys out of the box and he is a very physical player that will not be beat to many balls.

A key player for France is Franck Ribery, as if he can have a good match controlling the ball in the midfield and pushing up on offense France will be very tough to beat.

France is a better team even though they have struggled in their last few friendly matches. However, those were friendlies and this is the main stage and the 2006 finalist will come out and play like the world power they are and win this Group A match.