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11 Years Ago Today, Siphiwe Tshabalala Opened The World Cup With South Africa Stunner vs Mexico

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11 Years Ago Today, Siphiwe Tshabalala Opened The World Cup With South Africa Stunner vs Mexico

On this day in 2010, the World Cup in South Africa started with a bang when Siphiwe Tshabalala hit a thunderous effort against Mexico in Johannesburg.

A lovely bit of combination play in the middle of the park resulted in Tshabalala darting down the left flank.

After arriving in the box, the Kaiser Chiefs speedster let rip and leathered the ball past Oscar Perez and into the top corner, the stadium erupting in unison.

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Vuvuzelas (remember them?) were blown as Peter Drury produced an iconic piece of commentary to go along with the stunning strike.

"TSHABALALAAAA!!!

"GOAL BAFANA BAFANA!

"GOAL FOR SOUTH AFRICA!

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"GOAL FOR ALL OF AFRICA!, REJOICE!"

South Africa players celebrated by busting some wonderfully choreographed moves.

Image: PA
Image: PA
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Although Mexico would go on to equalise in the 79th minute through Rafael Marquez, the moment Tshabalala provided continues to give goosebumps 11 years on.

For Drury, the man who had the best seat in the house at the Soccer City Stadium, it remains one of his favourite moments in football.

Image: PA
Image: PA

"It was just a beautiful day for sport and humanity," he told SPORTbible.

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"It did something for the world that day that politics can never do. In that stadium in Johannesburg, the world was unified and equalised racially.

"Everyone was together. Arms were around shoulders, regardless of race, colour and creed. There was a universal smile around that game and then a boy called [Siphiwe] Tshabalala, who'd grown up in Soweto, scored a beautiful, beautiful goal.

"The symbolism of it hit me at the time and continues to hit me. Funnily enough, this summer during lockdown, was the tenth anniversary of that goal and I went on South African radio and they fixed me up with Tshabalala.

"It was a beautiful thing and honestly I welled up. That was the first game of a World Cup, South Africa didn't win it and nor did Mexico but I don't think there's been a more symbolic game in terms of what sport and football can do for the world than that game and that goal.

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"I was lucky to have been there in a good seat to watch it."

Tshabalala's worldie in the 54th minute will always be special, not just for the technical brilliance but for the joy the goal brought.

"People still talk about how much of an impact this goal has on them," he told SPORTbible in an interview marking the ten-year anniversary of the goal last year.

"People across the world still give me love. I'm just grateful that I've touched lives through my god-given talent. It gave people hope. It united a nation.

"It's the goal that set the tone. It brought everyone together. Everyone rejoiced. Everyone was happy. There were lots of hugs and kisses in the stadium. It was just amazing,"

Topics: south africa, 2010 World Cup, Football

Josh Lawless
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