Mexico was drawn together with South Africa, France, and Uruguay, in group A, and will play the opening match of the tournament in Johannesburg against the hosts.
While the reaction in both France and South African media seems to have been mostly relieved, I wouldn’t be too optimistic. Uruguay can be a very tough opponent, and Mexico ended its qualification campaign much better than it started.
The opening match will be crucial and for that there is a couple of things I wanted to bring up:
- Altitude: South Africa and Mexico are used to playing at altitude, so that should not be a factor.
- Home advantage: Certain reports were making a lot of noise about vuvuzelas, the trumpets South African supporters use, and how they would inspire fear in their opponents. Sorry, bafana bafana, but the Mexicans will just feel right at home if they hear loud blowing horns as that matches the conditions at Azteca Stadium.
- Rankings, team quality, World Cup experience…: I like the South Africans, but the team hasn’t really shown that much lately. Mexico started qualification in the doldrums and ended on a high.
- Opening match: No host team has lost the opening match in the history of the World Cup.
Now we just have to wait for July to come over, right?