After their surprising draw against Mexico in their opening game, South Africa want more. And Carlos Alberto Parreira believes his Bafana Bafana are ready to give more.
THE ice has been broken, Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has said.
This was after he saw his brave charges, buoyed by close to 90 000 spectators at Soccer City on Friday grind a one all draw with Mexico.
He now believes the confidence of his team will be carried throughout to the next game against Uruguay.
“Considering that this was a World Cup opener with most of our players being local based, the ambiance created in this stadium was always going to give them difficulties, which is why we struggled the way we did in the opening 10 minutes. But the ice has been broken now.”
“The first game of the tournament has pressure and tends to be dull. But then in the next game of the competition we will be more confident as the first game was always going to be full of pressure,” Parreira told reporters on Friday.
This follows last night’s opening game, where Bafana took the lead through Siphiwe Tshabalala, only for Rafael Marquez to level late on.
The Brazilian born coach says he was “impressed with the way we played because Mexico is not a small team.”
“Remember, they made life difficult for England and then made Italy fools. I praise my team for this as the principles of Brazilian football have been applied, which is to keep possession. In the end I believe that this was a fair result”, he added.
Parreira believes that four points should be enough to see any team in the group proceed to the next round.
No host nation has failed to make the second round since Uruguay staged the first World Cup 80 years ago, but local bookmakers have installed South Africa as favourites to finish bottom of the table.
South Africa’s team — who rank just 83rd in the world — face a massive challenge if they are to avoid becoming the first host nation to be eliminated in the first round. South Africa have won just one match in their two previous appearances at the World Cup.
The top two teams from each of eight four-team groups advance to a knockout round of 16.
Just seven countries have won the World Cup, which was first staged in Uruguay in 1930.
Brazil have won five times (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002); Italy four times (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006); Germany (as West Germany) three times (1954, 1974, 1990); Argentina twice (1978, 1986), and England (1966) and France (1998) once each.
Tshabalala, the Bafana Bafana midfielder was voted the best player of the opening match. He said he was satisfied with how the match worked out for him. “It was very important for me that I got the goal because this was my 50th cap and it felt great getting the goal for the country. It was the best way to celebrate my 50 caps with the national team”, he said after the match.
World Cup 2010: Full list of teams and selected players