Mexico forward Carlos Vela has his sights set on spoiling the party at Soccer City on 11 June when his side line up as the first threat to South African ambitions in the Opening Match of the tournament in Johannesburg.
With less than a fortnight to go until the first ever FIFA World Cup™ on African soil gets under way, Vela is eager to play his part in what will be an historic event at Soccer City. But Javier Aguirre’s side won’t be bringing any presents to the party as they look to kick start their FIFA World Cup™ campaign with a victory.
“It’s fantastic because the whole world will be watching the game,” the Arsenal forward told FIFA.com. “It’s a great opportunity for us to play well and win the first game of the World Cup and we are working hard to do that.”
Aguirre’s side has had a mixed bag of results during their FIFA World Cup warm-up programme - losing to both England and the Netherlands this week, following back-to-back wins against fellow FIFA World Cup hopefuls Chile, and Angola.
However, this Mexico outfit is blessed with a winning mentality, and that, they hope, will help them out of what is a tough opening group, boasting France and Uruguay as well as the hosts. An exciting blend of youth and experience, with proven young talents like Vela, Guillermo Ochoa, Andres Guardado and Giovani dos Santos, working alongside the likes of Rafael Marquez and Cuauhtemoc Blanco, certainly promises to give fellow Group A hopefuls a run for their money.
“I have a good feeling because the team is very good with a combination of young and experienced players,” he said, “and our mentality is strong. I think Mexico can have a very good tournament and maybe win five or six games.”
As disappointing as their defeat by England was last week, Vela admits it afforded Mexico a much-needed taste of European opposition, with former world champions France lining up alongside them in Group A. “It was good,” he reflected, “because they are both very big teams - France is a very good team and they have fantastic players, and so do England. It is important for Mexico to play against the top teams.”