JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said hosts South Africa were ready for 'war' against Mexico Friday in the opening match of the 2010 World Cup.
The clash before a sell-out 95,000 crowd at Soccer City stadium will signal the start of the 64-game tournament and the first World Cup staged on African soil.
"An opening game - this is war," 67-year-old Brazilian grandfather Parreira told a news conference at the match venue on a chilly, overcast day in the South African financial hub.
"But we have worked hard. Above all, my team has formed an identity. I have tried to give this team a Brazilian touch.
"What I saw against Denmark pleased me (a 1-0 friendly win last week). The team for the Mexico match will look like the one that beat the Danes. The players know and they are ready," he said.
Striker Katlego Mphela scored the lone goal in that match and raised to 12 the number of matches South Africa have gone unbeaten since 1994 World Cup-winning coach Parreira returned to the post last November.
"The players also know Mexico will want to impose its aggressive style. This is a team which plays with speed, a dangerous team, but my boys have been warned," stressed Parreira.
His warning came after assistant Pitso Mosimane labelled the central Americans "high risk takers" ahead of an intriguing group completed by former world champions France and Uruguay, who clash in Cape Town later Friday.
"Mexico fear nobody. They are prepared to attack with eight players pushing into their opponents' half. They are an awesome side, but we know what to expect and are ready."
Parreira admitted the pressure on the hosts increases every day and the Aaron Mokoena-captained squad was feeling it as football fever takes a vice-like grip on South Africa.
"Of course players feel that (pressure) and we can understand. The South African people have waited such a long time for this World Cup," explained Parreira.
"There is also joy and happiness tied to the tournament and that is why I tell my players to revel in the atmosphere and forget about the negative pressure.
"First, we want to win the opening game. We want to give joy to our supporters. To cross the group stage would be great. Our FIFA classification (83) does not correspond with the value of the team.
"The World Cup has to permit us to bring the ranking much higher. We have to leave an inheritance in order that South Africa becomes a great football nation."
|Coach: Carlos Alberto Parreira|
for L. Thwala 46'
for S. Pienaar 83'
|Allegri lauds Pogba performance|
|Messi pays homage after record-breaking day|
|Messi the record breaker|
|Serie A Review: Top two both victorious|
|Taylor hints that knee injury not as bad as first feared|
|Ligue 1 Review: Lyon stumble against Bastia|
|Van Gaal critical of United despite win|
|Lazio 0 Juventus 3: Pogba and Tevez star as champions dominate|
|Wenger frustrated by wasteful Arsenal defeat|
|Barcelona 5 Sevilla 1: Messi breaks La Liga record as Barca cruise|
|Garcia delighted with Ljajic display|
|League One Review: Swindon close the gap at the top, Yeovil off the bottom|
|Messi breaks La Liga goal record|
|Ancelotti: Isco a ´perfect´ Modric replacement|
|Bundesliga Review: Wolfsburg slip helps move Bayern well clear|
|Rooney revels in success of counter-attack ploy|
|Tiago: Malaga scalp proves we´re great|
|Arsenal 1 Manchester United 2: Rooney seals Van Gaal´s maiden away win|
|Reus injury angers Klopp|
|Schweinsteiger pays tribute to Bayern fans|
|Pellegrini salutes Toure´s attitude|
|Hughes laments Stoke´s slow start|
|Allardyce frustrated after Everton defeat|
|We deserved more - Redknapp|
|Irvine: Yacob can have no complaints|
|League Two Review: Luton run ended by Burton, Wycombe go top|
|Eibar 0 Real Madrid 4: Relentless Real win again|
|Poyet defends Cattermole over Cambiasso tackle|
|Dyche hails Burnley resolve|
|Martinez hails ´satisfying´ Everton triumph|
|Pearson sure of Leicester survival|
|Gomis earns Monk forgiveness for late miss|
|Pardew full of praise for Sissoko|
|Mourinho lauds ´beautiful´ Chelsea display|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Guidetti strikes again for Celtic, top four all win|
|Championship Review: Bamford denies Mackay´s Wigan, Derby extend lead|
|Aston Villa v Southampton: Koeman eyes international swagger|
|Newcastle United 1 QPR 0: Skipper Sissoko seals fifth straight win|
|Leicester City 0 Sunderland 0: Hosts´ goal drought continues|
|Stoke City 1 Burnley 2: Ings at the double as visitors hold on|
|Atletico Madrid 3 Malaga 1: Unconvincing champions halt in-form visitors|
|Everton 2 West Ham 1: Osman celebrates landmark with winner|
|Manchester City 2 Swansea 1: Toure seals comeback win for champions|
|Chelsea 2 West Brom 0: Yacob sees red as leaders march on|
|Paderborn 2 Borussia Dortmund 2: Reus injury leads to Dortmund capitulation|
|Bayern Munich 4 Hoffenheim 0: Champions move seven clear|
|Bielsa not concerned by Marseille investigation|
|Mancini buoyed by Inter preparations|
|Benitez rules out Liverpool return|
|Hertha prepared for Kalou absence|
|Montella confident despite Fiorentina pressures|
|Injured Alex out of Milan derby|
|Pochettino wants versatility from Dier|
|Van Gaal will not take risks with Falcao fitness|
|A-League Review: Sydney keep pressure on at top|
|K. League Review: Sangju Sangmu all but down, Gyeongnam remain in danger|
|J.League Review: Gamba deny title-chasing Urawa, Ventforet ensure safety|
|Rabiot thrilled with PSG return|
|Sterling wants long Liverpool stay|
|Poyet: I thought Cattermole would ´shoot´ me|
|Simeone: Cerci interest compliments Atletico|
|Blanc: ´I was confident´ of PSG win|
|Silva sidelined for crucial City-Bayern clash|
|Lambert would ´love´ to keep Vlaar, slams agent|
|Championship Review: Brentford up to fourth, Reading lose again|
|Athletic Bilbao 3 Espanyol 1: Aduriz back with a bang|
|Metz 2 Paris Saint-Germain 3: Lavezzi late show sends Blanc´s men top|
|Four clubs face UEFA investigation regarding overdue payables|
|Icardi can reach the top at Inter, says Milito|
|Klopp open to Premier League interest|
|Marseille sweat on fitness of Gignac and Alessandrini|
|Mansfield part company with Cox|
|Pochettino calls for Tottenham unity|
|Alaba targets January return|
|Milan v Inter: Mancini returns for derby showdown|
|Zidane ban overturned|
|Hughes optimistic on Bardsley and Pieters fitness|
|No room for error against Malaga - Simeone|
|Crystal Palace v Liverpool: Six-goal thriller still fresh in the memory|
|Koeman hopeful on Schneiderlin fitness|
|Khedira or Isco will replace Modric - Ancelotti|
|Costa fully fit after hamstring problems|
|Rodgers rules out early Origi arrival|
|Garcia unsure of Castan timeframe|
|Hull City v Tottenham: Dawson returns as Bruce´s men seek response|
|Luis Enrique: No talks over Messi future|
|Schweinsteiger in line for Bayern return|
|Kompany and Lampard fit for City|
|A-League Review: Zadkovich sees red after just 17 seconds in Glory win|
|FA to investigate Whelan comments|
|Mourinho relishing busy schedule|
|Allegri reveals Lazio talks|
|Caen president steps aside following arrest|
|Moyes sees Everton similarities at Sociedad|
|Whelan not racist - Bruce|
|Balotelli: The goals will come at Liverpool|
|Torres wants to be Milan top scorer|
|Milito backs Martino to lead Argentina to success|
|Gonalons signs new Lyon contract|
|Spurs need to give Pochettino time - Dawson|
|Walcott out of United clash, Welbeck a doubt|
|Poyet targeting cover for Van Aanholt|
|Messi happy at Barcelona - Bartomeu|
|Pardew plays down Perez-Shearer comparisons|
|Werder Bremen suffer Di Santo blow ahead of derby|
|Everton will not rush Stones - Martinez|
|Monk: Swansea will not recall Michu|
|Colombian Primera A Review: Santa Fe, Medellin still perfect in semis|
|Brazilian Serie A Review: Cruzeiro rally to beat Gremio|
|Lallana: ´I´ve got friends´ at Southampton|
|Boca Juniors 0 River Plate 0: Honours even in Superclasico|
|Costa Rican Primera Division Review: Alonso scores 10th goal in Alajuelense win|
|Guarani 3 Cerro Porteno 4: Late Ortigoza goal lifts Astrada´s men to summit|
|Defensa y Justicia 1 Newell´s Old Boys 0: Pellegrino saves late penalty|