News / USA

England-US Match Draws Attention at World Cup

Football fans around the world are eagerly anticipating Saturday's match between England and the underdog United States in the second day of the 2010 World Cup tournament.

The two teams last played each other in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil resulting in a stunning 1-0 victory by the United States that is considered one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

The U.S. is hoping to pull a similar upset Saturday in Rustenburg, in northwestern South Africa.  Vice President Joe Biden, the official U.S. representative at the World Cup opening, has predicted an American victory.

England, one of the stronger teams in this year's tournament, is trying to land its first World Cup since 1966.

Argentina and South Korea pulled off wins earlier Saturday.  In the first game of the day, South Korea dominated Greece early on, winning 2-0.  

Argentina scored in the sixth minute against Nigeria and tenaciously held on for a 1-0 victory.

The talented Argentine squad, which includes world player of the year Lionel Messi, missed 23 other shots, however, and narrowly averted a tie when a strong Nigerian shot in the 70th minute missed by just centimeters.

South Africa's team kicked off the 32-nation tournament Friday with a 1-1 draw against Mexico before an exuberant crowd in Johannesburg.

About 90,000 fans, most dressed in South Africa's team colors of yellow and green, packed the newly refurbished Soccer City stadium to witness the start of the first World Cup on African soil.

South African President Jacob Zuma opened the 32-nation tournament, lauding it as "the African World Cup."

The excitement was tempered by the absence of former president Nelson Mandela, who canceled a planned appearance after his great-granddaughter was killed in a car crash on Thursday night.

The 64 matches of the tournament are being played in 10 stadiums across South Africa -- including Soccer City and Ellis Park in Johannesburg.  

Italy is the defending champion, but Spain, the reigning European champion, and five-time former world champion Brazil also are considered favorites.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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