Posted by Paul Grant
JOHANNESBURG -- Cribbed from the notes of our fantastic research department: The first African World Cup kicks off Friday when Mexico takes on host nation South Africa. Host countries are 14-0-5 all time in their World Cup openers and have advanced past to the second round in every tournament. South Africa is 0-1-1 in World Cup openers. Mexico has won 3 straight openers and reached the knockout round in 4 straight World Cups.
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Leander Schaerlaeckens (top left) is a soccer writer for ESPN.com.
Jeff Carlisle (top center) covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN.com.
Brent Latham (top right) covers soccer for ESPN.com and works as a soccer commentator for a national television station in Guatemala.
Chris Jones (bottom left) is a writer-at-large for Esquire and a contributing editor for ESPN the Magazine.
Jeff Bradley (bottom center) is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Jemele Hill (bottom right) is a columnist for Page 2 and writer for ESPN the Magazine.
Michael Griffin (not pictured) is an editor for ESPN.com.
Paul Carr (not pictured) is a researcher for the ESPN Stats & Information group.
John Brewin (not pictured) is the senior editor at ESPNSoccernet.com.
Ravi Ubha (not pictured) covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com.
Andrew Hush (not pictured) is a soccer researcher for ESPN International, having previously been editor of Soccer New England magazine.
James Martin (not pictured) is the soccer editor for ESPN.com.
Paul Grant (not pictured) is a deputy editor at ESPN.com.
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