World Cup 2010 Kicks Off in South Africa

South Africa opens the soccer World Cup against Mexico today on a 12-match unbeaten streak that has raised local expectations ahead of a tournament that already pulled thousands of fans into the streets of Johannesburg.

Bafana Bafana, which means “our boys” in Zulu, enter the monthlong event as the second-lowest ranked team in the 32- nation championship and rated by bookmakers as an outsider to make it out of their four-team group. No host nation has failed to reach the second round in the 80-year history of the World Cup.

The opening ceremony of the 2010 World Cup has taken place in Johannesburg ahead of Friday's first game of the world's greatest sporting spectacle between South Africa and Mexico.

A global audience of hundreds of millions will watch the match from Soccer City stadium, which kicks off at 4 p.m. local time (2 p.m. GMT) with South Africa's players carrying the hopes of the host nation on their shoulders.