Forlan ruins South African chances

Reading time 2 min.

It was make or break for South Africa as they crossed swords with Uruguay. But the Bafana Bafana were no match for an incredibly efficient Diego Forlan. 3-0, tough luck for the World Cup host who can wave their chances of seeing the second round good bye.

It was a big day in South African history as the Bafana Bafana locked horns with Uruguay, 34 years to the day after the Soweto uprising. Steven Pienaar knew it and warned before the game : “We as players want to beat Uruguay and take a step closer to reaching the knockout phase and thereby making it a double celebration for South Africa.”

History was on the side of the hosts of the 2010 World Cup : since 1958, five World Cup host countries now have drawn their opening match – and on the previous four occasions, they won their second game. But the South Americans were in the mood to play a trick on Carlos Alberto Parreira’s boys. After his stunning opener against Mexico, Tshabalala was on fire but his attempts (13’, 16’) didn’t trouble Uruguay’s Muslera.

With both sides looking sharper than they did in the first game, one could expect more. And more was delivered as Diego Folan picked up the ball outside the penalty area before stepping firing a cruel ball that barely dipped enough to go under the crossbar. Khune, so impressive against Mexico, didn’t blink. Forlan 1 South Africa 0.

With the Atlético frontman running the game, the Bafana Bafana asked their own fans to raise the volume and bring out the vuvuzelas. Unfortunately for them, even the roar of the plastic horns couldn’t faze Diego Forlan as he stepped up for a penalty 10 minutes from the end. In a cruel turn of events, Suarez dropped down in the box as if he was shot. Red car for Khune, penalty for Forlan. Forlan 2 South Africa 0.

As it was, the Bafana Bafana fans were leaving the stadium at the rythm of their favourites chances to reach the second round. It got worse as Porto’s Alvaro Pereira added a third one in the dying minutes of the game. Outgunned in the second half after holding it together, South Africa will be devastated. It will be tough for the Bafana as they’ll have to win against France next Tuesday.

2010 World Cup  South Africa's preparation to host the games on African soil for the first time but also individual African countries' determination to take part in the historic event. Five African countries - Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa and Ghana - are selected to join twenty seven teams from around the world to battle it out on the football pitch for the gold trophy. One by one, the African teams are eliminated, but Africans will not be bogged down as they rally behind their compatriots on the wings of the vuvuzela, a far cry from the near diplomatic row between Algeria and Egypt during the qualifiers. Ghana are the last team to leave but not before African unity becomes reality...
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