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A history of Mexico playing in the opening match of the World Cup

South Africa v Mexico: Group A - 2010 FIFA World Cup Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images

In honor of today’s inaugural game between Russia and Saudi Arabia, we look back at the five times Mexico was part of the World Cup’s opening game.

World Cup 1930 - France vs Mexico (4-1)

Believe it or not, Mexico was part of the first World Cup match ever played. Only pictures exist from said match in Uruguay, where El Tri ended up losing 4-1 to the French. Win or lose, Mexico hold a special place in World Cup history, and it’s no kidding why many people say a World Cup just wouldn’t be the same without them.

World Cup 1950 - Brazil vs Mexico (4-0)

Mexico suffered another opening game defeat, this time against Brazil in the iconic Estádio Maracanã. Fútbol was just entering a new era of modernity, but this World Cup would eventually be remembered for the famous Maracanazo.

World Cup 1954 - Brazil vs Mexico (5-0)

Four years after losing 4-0 to Brazil, El Tri took on the South Americans once again, and just like they did in Rio de Janeiro, they got thumped. It wasn’t even close, and Brazil kicked off the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland with authority.

World Cup 1970 - Mexico vs Soviet Union (0-0)

Mexico’s opening game misery continued in 1970. Despite the full support of a packed Estadio Azteca, El Tri failed to break down a disciplined Soviet side and had to settle for a scoreless draw.

World Cup 2010 - South Africa vs South Africa (1-1)

Mexico’s most recent opening match of the World Cup happened in 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was an exciting match that saw hosts take the lead with a Siphiwe Tshabalala golazo before Rafael Marquez came to Mexico’s rescue in the 79th minute. It was an iconic Rafa Marquez moment and one that will be remembered for decades to come.