NELSPRUIT - South Africa opened their new World Cup stadium in Nelspruit with a morale-boosting 4-0 win over Thailand on Sunday.
South Africa's biggest win since they returned to international football in 1992 following decades of sporting isolation marked a successful start for the World Cup hosts to their final preparations for next month's tournament.
Katlego Mphela scored two goals in three minutes in the first half after Siphiwe Tshabalala had given South Africa a 22nd-minute lead from a curling free-kick.
Mphela, competing to lead the South African attack at the World Cup, added the second with a tap-in from a corner missed by the Thai goalkeeper on the half hour mark.
His third came after a defence-splitting pass from Teko Modise and Bernard Parker completed the rout in the final minute after he ran through the Thai defence and placed the ball under the goalkeeper.
The win come after the return of the bulk of the South African side from training camps in Brazil and Germany over the last two months.
Thailand were the first of four opponents South Africa have lined up over the next three weeks, with games to come against Bulgaria, Colombia and Denmark.
The stadium, which will host four matches at the World Cup finals, was the second last of the 10 venues to open. The final venue, Soccer City in Johannesburg, opens its doors on Saturday for the South African FA Cup final.comments