News / Africa

World Cup Play Begins

Play has begun at the 2010 World Cup - the first ever World Cup to be held on the continent of Africa.  

About 90,000 fans mostly dressed in South Africa's team colors of yellow and green, packed into the newly refurbished Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg on Friday. They watched host South Africa battle Mexico to a 1-1 draw in the first game of the 32-nation, month-long tournament.  France and Uruguay play in the second game of the day.

Later in the day, France and Uruguay played to a scoreless draw at a packed stadium in Cape Town.

Earlier a spectacular opening ceremony featured singers and dancers in colorful costumes and body paint. South Africa's President Jacob Zuma and his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon, sat side-by-side overlooking the festivities, each wearing their home team's scarf.

Television cameras also showed South African Nobel laureate and retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu wearing a team jersey and dancing in the stands. He was joined in the stands by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden who is representing the United States at the tournament.

Correspondent Delia Robertson talks about World Cup 2010 Day 1:

The excitement was tempered, though, by the absence of former president Nelson Mandela, who canceled a planned appearance after his great-granddaughter was killed in a car crash on her way home from Thursday's World Cup kickoff concert.

In remarks before the start of the game, President Zuma said the 91-year-old Mr. Mandela had wanted to attend but could not because of the unexpected death of his 13-year-old great-granddaughter, Zenani.  

Mr. Zuma also lauded the tournament as the first ever hosted by an African nation, calling it "the African World Cup."

The World Cup is being played in 10 stadiums across South Africa, including Soccer City and Ellis Park in Johannesburg.  

In addition to an automatic qualification for the host team, five African countries qualified for this year's World Cup - Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria and Algeria.

Italy enters the World Cup as defending champion, but Spain, the reigning European champion, and five-time former world champion Brazil are considered the early favorites in South Africa.

The first World Cup football tournament was played in 1930 in Montevideo with host nation Uruguay defeating Argentina for the championship.

Related report by VOA's Jeff Swicord

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs