12 Jun 2010

World Cup begins

11:50 am on 12 June 2010

The FIFA World Cup has opened with a spectacular ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The tournament was officially opened on Friday by President Jacob Zuma.

The ceremony was followed by the first game of the tournament between the hosts and Mexico, which ended 1-1.

Africa is staging the World Cup for the first time, with 32 nations competing in 64 games until the final on 11 July.

The 40-minute ceremony began with a five-plane military flypast over the stadium, which resembles a huge African cooking pot.

A group of drummers and dancers performed a 'Welcome to Africa' song that included an introduction to all 10 tournament's venues.

The next sequence saw a gigantic beetle show its skills with the Jabulani - the official football of the finals - before large pieces of cloth were used to show a map of the continent.

Musicians and artists from the other African finalists - Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria - also performed in a joint sequence.

Grammy Award winner R Kelly then sang the ceremony's showpiece song, Sign of a Victory with the Soweto Spiritual Singers.

An image of Nelson Mandela appeared on screens to a message of hope from him in song.

Mr Mandela, 91, did not attend the opening ceremony due to the death of his great-granddaughter.

Zenani Mandela, 13, died in a car crash when travelling home from a pre-World Cup concert in Johannesburg on Thursday. She was one of his nine great-grandchildren.

First game

The opening game resulted in a draw, 1-1.

South Africa took the lead, with a goal about 10 minutes into the second half.

However, Mexico equalised in the 79th minute.

South Africa is ranked 83rd in the world and went into the tournament with a run of 12 matches without loss. Mexico is ranked 17th.

The second game of the day, between France and Uruguay, was also a draw, 0-0, in Cape Town.