South Africa midfielder Teko Modise admitted his side suffered from early nerves yesterday but was satisfied overall with the 1-1 draw against Mexico in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ opener.
The clash in Johannesburg saw the hosts struggle initially, before they managed to come away with a point. Modise said: "We didn't start well. Many of us don't know what it's like to play in a World Cup. Now we know what it's all about, so I believe against Uruguay we will start much better and be a lot more relaxed."
The Orlando Pirates star was guilty of a crucial miss shortly after Siphiwe Tshabalala's opener that could have killed off the game. In the end it was not to be as a Rafael Marquez effort 11 minutes from time helped the Mexicans snatch a draw.
Modise added: "I needed to take that chance to help me personally. But right now it's all about the team and I think against Mexico I worked hard for the team and I'm proud of that. We had some chances late in the match as our confidence grew so as long as we keep creating chances then we'll have a chance of winning."
Many of us don't know what it's like to play in a World Cup. Now we know what it's all about.
Mexico defender Hector Moreno compared yesterday's atmosphere inside Soccer City to that of the Estadio Azteca, saying it definitely played a role in the result. The 22-year-old, who plays for Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, was not part of the on-field proceedings, instead sitting amongst the substitutes and soaking up the noise of the 85,000 crowd.
And he felt the pressure of the situation got to Bafana Bafana. "I think so (they were nervous)," he told Press Association Sport. "But it's something that applies to both teams. It's normal to be nervous in such a game because everybody is watching you and everybody is expecting a lot of you."
Moreno, capped 10 times for his country, has played many times at the famous Estadio Azteca - a venue that seats more than 100,000 and is situated in the country's capital, Mexico City. He revealed that playing in Soccer City brought back memories of playing at his own national headquarters.
"The atmosphere was just like Azteca, but only the colour was yellow, not green," he added. "I think they (South Africa) did a good job in those circumstances. I'm not too happy, but I think we did a good job too.
"I guess we deserve a little bit more because in the first half we had some very good opportunities, but we failed to take them. I think we could have taken at least two of those chances, but this is football. In the second half South Africa were better in the possession game."
For his coach Javier Aguirre, the result left a "bitter taste" and he stressed the importance of El Tri winning their next Group A game against France, who drew with Uruguay 0-0 in the day's other game. "Both teams are going away with a bitter taste, but that's what we've got and now we're forced really to beat France," he said.
"We have to score more goals and be more efficient (to qualify). We're quite confident we can win our next two matches but we must beat France."