The 2010 FIFA World Cup is set to kick-off in South Africa when host nation South Africa takes on Mexico during the opening match this Friday, June 11.
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Africa will be hosting it’s first World Cup, an event that occurs every four years. Nelson Mandela, former South African president, is expected to be on-hand at the opening match to greet fans and players. Mandela played a role in obtaining South Africa’s winning bid.
The opening concert celebration will take place at Orlando Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg on Thursday night, June 10. It will feature a musical mixture of international superstars including, Alicia Keys, Black Eyed Peas, Shakira and major African artists. Singer R. Kelly’s song “Sign of a Victory,” has been declared the official anthem of the World Cup.
The United States has their first match set for Saturday, June 12, in Rustenburg against England. The U.S. is relying on midfielder Landon Donovan of the Los Angeles Galaxy for its success.
Team U.S.A. is coached by Bob Bradley and has been part of nine FIFA World Cups. The team won its bid to South Africa after taking first place in the final six-team Hexagonal phase of North, Central America and Caribbean Zone qualifying.
Previous World Cup champions Italy, are set to take the field on Monday, June 14, against Paraguay. In 2006 they were crowned with their fourth title after beating France in a shoot out.
ESPN will have full coverage of all the matches leading up to the finals on July 11.
Click here for a 2010 FIFA World Cup game schedule.