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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid