Mexico draws 1-1 with South Africa in FIFA World Cup opener
Hosts South Africa were denied the dream start to their World Cup finals in Friday's opening match after Barcelona's Rafael Marquez scored a late equaliser for Mexico to seal a 1-1 draw.
South Africa had looked to be on course for a surprise win thanks to Siphiwe Tshabalala's superb 55th-minute volley only for the lead to be cancelled out by Marquez's strike in the 79th minute.
The Bafana Bafana then went agonisingly close to sneaking a win right at the death when striker Katlego Mphela hit the post after outpacing two defenders.
South Africa's coach Carlos Alberto Parreira praised his side for their battling display.
"Mexico are the most daring team in the World Cup and they threatened us early on, but I believe we were more balanced in the second half and could have won the game," said the Brazilian.
"It is a fair result.
"Our spirit was high from the beginning, whatever happens I expect things will be decided by our last game against France."
His opposite number Javier Aguirre admitted he was disappointed his side failed to make their first-half dominance count.
"I think we had a very good first half, but we weren't capable of really putting away our chances," said Aguirre, who is in his second spell as national coach having been in charge for the 2002 World Cup finals.
"The team was confident, but we missed a few chances and things got complicated after they scored.
"The South African goalkeeper played really well and kept them in the game in the first-half.
"Both teams are going away with a bitter, sweet taste and now we are forced to beat France in our next game," added Aguirre, who played for Mexico at the 1986 finals when they hosted them and reached the last eight.
After a nervy opening half in front of 84,490 fans at Soccer City, South Africa finally found their rhythm to take the lead as Mexico failed to make their first-half domination count.
The Bafana Bafana were lucky to go into the half-time break at 0-0 after Mexico dominated the opening 45 minutes, but Carlos Vela's 38th minute effort was ruled offside.
South Africa had a let off after just four minutes when Mexico captain Gerardo Torrado whipped in a cross which goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune fumbled into the path of Giovani Dos Santos, but his shot was blocked.
Galatasaray's Dos Santos was a constant threat in the opening stages as the Mexicans attacked relentlessly.
Mexican midfielder Efrain Juarez was shown the tournament's first yellow card on 18 minutes, but South African play-maker Steven Pienaar sent the free-kick sailing over the crossbar.
Bafana Bafana midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi was then shown a yellow card for the hosts after fouling Dos Santos on 27 minutes, but Marquez fired the free-kick high.
After the break, a perfectly-timed through ball from Pienaar split the Mexican defence and put Tshabalala into acres of space for the Kaizer Chiefs' star to slam home his shot giving Mexican goalkeeper Oscar Perez no chance.
With 20 minutes left, Aguirre made some changes to push his side forward and they were rewarded with Marquez's goal.
The Barcelona star was left unmarked at the far post and he wasted no time in drilling his shot past Khune.
South Africa now face Uruguay in Pretoria on June 16, while Mexico take on France in Polokwane on June 17.
France and Uruguay meet each other later on Friday in Cape Town.