[SOCCER AMERICA PREDICTIONS] The World Cup begins on Friday when South Africa hosts Mexico and France meets Uruguay in Group A. The pressure will be on Bafana Bafana to extend the unbeaten record of the host nation in its opening game at the World Cup. France and Uruguay will try to make amends for an ill-tempered game eight years ago in Busan, South Korea. For more on Friday's games and Soccer America's predictions ...
SOUTH AFRICA (0-0-0) vs. MEXICO (0-0-0)
June 11 in Johannesburg, Soccer City
Kickoff: 10 a.m. ET.Television: ESPN/Univision.
Referee:Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan).
Past World Cup Meetings: none.
Paul Kennedy: Mexico 3-2
Ridge Mahoney:Tie 1-1
Mike Woitalla:Mexico 2-1
A South Africa loss would mean Bafana Bafana would become the first host team to ever lose its opening game. The previous hosts have gone 15-0-4 (W-L-T). Only England (1966), Mexico (1970), Spain (1982) and the USA (1994) tied its opener.
FRANCE (0-0-0) vs. URUGUAY (0-0-0)
June 11 in Cape Town
Kickoff:2:30 p.m. ET.Television: ESPN/Univision.
Referee:Referee Yuichi Nishimura (Japan).
Past World Cup Meetings:2002 -- Tie 0-0, 1966 -- Uruguay 2-1.
Paul Kennedy: Tie 0-0.
Ridge Mahoney:Uruguay 2-1.
Mike Woitalla:Tie 0-0.
Eight years ago, defending champion France went out without scoring a goal and had Thierry Henry sent off 26 minutes into its ill-tempered game with Uruguay. France has only one win in the group stage in its last two World Cup appearances; Uruguay has only one win in the group stage in its last four World Cup appearances.
(What are you predictions for Friday's games? Let us know in the comments below.)