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World Cup: History gives Bafana Bafana a big edge

June 11, 2010 |  4:41 am

South Africa certainly has history on its side going into Friday's World Cup opener.

Not only has no host country ever failed to advance out of pool play, but no home nation has ever lost in a World Cup opener. Five times the home team won -- Italy, 1934; Brazil, 1950; Sweden, 1958; Chile, 1962 and Germany, 2006. On two other occasions the hosts played to scoreless ties in their opening games. That happened to England in 1966 and Mexico in 1970.

In addition, Friday's game marked the fifth time Mexico has played in a World Cup opener and it has yet to win there, having been outscored 11-1 in the four previous outings.

Want more? In two previous World Cups an African team has played in the first match and both times that team won -- Cameroon over Argentina in 1990 and Senegal over France in 2002. Both games ended 1-0. Plus Mexico has never beaten an African team in a World Cup match, losing 3-1 to Tunisia in 1978 and playing Angola to a scoreless draw in 2006.

-- Kevin Baxter in Johannesburg