South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira suggested his side initially froze under the burden of expectation but believes that they eventually found their feet during Friday’s 1-1 draw with Mexico.
Bafana Bafana were penned back by an enterprising Mexico side who dominated possession, but they came out in the second half and led in the 55th minute through Siphiwe Tshabalala’s spectacular goal.
Rafael Marquez’s well taken equaliser strike with 11 minutes to go spoilt the opening day party for the hosts, but Parreira felt a point kept his side in with a chance of reaching the last 16.
“The opening game is always a lot of pressure and today was no different,” he said. “Most of our team are a home-based team, players who are not used to this big environment, and we tried hard to adapt to this ambience but after 15 minutes we started playing our game, putting the ball on the ground.
“We knew this Mexico team was the most daring in the World Cup, they are full of quality, In the second half we made the game more balanced and had chances to even have won it.
“I believe that the ice has been broken. The result was not the one we wanted but it will keep us alive until the last game in the group.”
Mexico coach Javier Aguirre agreed with Parreira that a draw was a fair outcome from an entertaining game.
The former Atletico Madrid boss said: “We missed a lot of chances and we lost our shape when they got the goal. We became a little chaotic.
“Fortunately we equalised. We could have won; we could have lost. Both teams are going away with a bitter taste but that’s how it is – now we are forced to beat France.”