Mexico's Franco eager to get the party started

JOHANNESBURG Wed Jun 9, 2010 5:20pm IST

Mexico's Guillermo Franco celebrates after scoring against Costa Rica during their World Cup qualifying soccer match at the Ricardo Saprissa stadium in San Jose, September 5, 2009. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

Mexico's Guillermo Franco celebrates after scoring against Costa Rica during their World Cup qualifying soccer match at the Ricardo Saprissa stadium in San Jose, September 5, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Juan Carlos Ulate

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Mexican striker Guillermo Franco is itching to run on the pitch for the opening match of the World Cup on Friday against hosts South Africa.

"It's a blessing from God, not everyone has the opportunity to kick off the World Cup and we're aware that millions of people will be watching," he told reporters on Wednesday.

Among those watching the Group A game pitchside at 1400GMT in Soccer City could be 91-year-old Nelson Mandela though the former South African president has made very few public appearances in recent months.

South African president Jacob Zuma and Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderon are expected to attend.

"People who have made history such as Mandela will be there, people who have brought so much to society and to humanity," the Argentine-born naturalised Mexican said.

Franco added he was impressed by the effort made to hype up the June 11-July 11 tournament, where Mexico will also face France and Uruguay in the group stages.

"The whole world and all of Mexico is throwing itself into this event and for us this is so important. We know what a big deal it is to represent our country," he added.

Franco is among a number of players not assured a starting place in Javier Aguirre's team but with seven goals in 21 appearances he could feature. (Writing by Tom Pilcher; Editing by Jon Bramley)

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Exit Polls

Exit Polls

BJP unlikely to form Jammu & Kashmir govt - polls.  Full Article 

Forceful Conversions

Forceful Conversions

BJP distances itself from religious conversions.  Full Article 

Photo

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Economic Pulse

Economic Pulse

Crank up public spending to revive growth - chief economic adviser.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

India looks to sway Americans with nuclear power insurance plan  Full Article 

Down Under

Down Under

Magic Johnson inspires Australia to second test win.  Full Article 

Going International

Going International

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra sets sights on American TV.  Full Article 

India This Week

India This Week

Some of our best photos from this week.   Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage