World Cup begins with a draw

Hosts South Africa drew 1-1 with Mexico in the opening game of the 2010 World Cup finals.

Siphiwe Tshabalala fired the Bafana Bafana ahead ten minutes into the second half in Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg, but Rafael Marquez equalised 11 minutes from time to deny South Africa a dream start.

Later on on Friday evening France and Uruguay played out a tame goalless draw In Cape Town.

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Dirk Kuyt could be interested in following former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez to new club Internazionale, according to his agent.

The Netherlands forward has been linked with a possible move to Italy following Benitez’s unveiling in the Inter hot-seat.

Benitez left Anfield earlier in the month on the back of a disappointing campaign which saw the Reds finish seventh in the final Premier League table.

The Spaniard is reported to have made both Kuyt and Argentina captain Javier Mascherano his main summer transfer targets.

And although claiming his client is happy at Anfield, Kuyt’s agent has suggested the 29-year-old Dutch international would be interested in joining Inter.

“It’s just rumours, we know nothing about this offer,” said Rob Jansen. “Dirk is thinking now only about the World Cup.

“He has an excellent relationship with Benitez, but we are commenting only on an hypothesis, because there is nothing concrete. When and if an offer arrives, we’ll see.”

A spirited display by Martin Johnson’s England ended in a 27-17 defeat at the hands of Australia in Perth.

Trailing 14-0 at the interval, England looked to be heading for a heavy loss, but a strong second-half performance from their pack helped restore some respectability.

Tries from Rocky Elsom and Quade Cooper, both converted by James O’Connor gave the Wallabies a healthy cushion, with Toby Flood’s penalty only getting England on the scoreboard three minutes after the restart.

Heavy pressure from the tourists’ pack persuaded referee Nigel Owens to award a penalty try, as the inexperienced Australian front row began to crumble.

Flood added the extras to make the score 14-10, but within a couple of minutes Cooper strode in for his second try and O’Connor converted to stretch the advantage.

Ten minutes from time England’s pack piled on the pressure and Owens once again gave a penalty try, with Flood’s conversion making the score 21-17.

However, late penalties from O’Connor and Cooper ensured that the home side won out in the end.

Axed wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior has set his sights on winning a recall to the England one-day and Twenty20 set-up.

The 28-year-old has lost his place to Craig Kieswetter in recent times, but is determined to impress for Sussex in the shorter forms of the game to put the pressure back on.

He told The Argus: “Of course it is always disappointing to be left out, so I’ve got to go back to the drawing board, re-invent myself and prove to people that I have a lot of belief in my game and feel that I can play one-day cricket again for England.”