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South Africa 2-1 France World Cup 2010 Group A

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After all those turmoils surrounding the beleaguered French team, finally they are put out of their misery by a gallant South African side, the host nation, who huffed and puffed their way trying to extract every single ounce of their energy in trying to, no matter how slim their chances are, to avoid the unwanted tag of the first host nation to be knocked out in the Group Stage. While the French, at least in the first half only wanted this match to be done and over with. However, both teams simply crashed out from the Group Stage despite showing some form of fighting spirit throughout the match.

For South Africa, they seemed to go on course to defeat France by at least 3 goals, the very result they need to maintain their hope, however small to advance to the last 16. They stormed to a 2 goal lead by the end of the first half, but subsequently, they were not able to make the most of the chances that the French generously gave them. Despite South Africa surely gathering lots of praises from all directions after their victory which clearly wasn’t enough, I have to say that they are really not good enough as they were really profligate in front of the goal, with Mphela the main culprit. Had all of their chances resulted in goals, they would have probably thrashed France 5-0 at least and considering the 1-0 victory of Uruguay over Mexico, South Africa would have ousted the Mexicans and go through to the last 16. Too bad they didn’t have what it takes to convert all those chances into goals. The way they wasted chances also gave the French a chance to make a comeback, despite having to play with 10 men most of the match. In any case, despite being a sad day for South Africa as they become the first nation to fail to qualify past the Group Stage, they at least gave their fans something to cheer about as they have defeated France, a world class team nonetheless despite being an embodiment of problems at the moment.

As for France, they looked totally out by the end of the first half. When Yoann Gourcuff was sent off in the 27th minute, it seemed all over for the French. Their players were visibly dejected and looked lost. The second goal which they conceded even reminded me of one of the goals that Portugal scored against the mysteriously switched off DPRK side in the second half of that match. Only the aforementioned wastefulness of South African strikers gave them an impetus to strike back and they did through Florent Malouda. An interesting incident also happened at around 64th minute when Henry received a ball on the left flank, the ball hit his hand, and the ref spotted the handball. Interestingly, he was on the same flank during that fateful incident in the match against Republic of Ireland in the playoffs. Not sure if he deliberately did it, but if he really does, then he has no shame as the incident against Ireland really tarnished his reputation and he’s under intense scrutiny. But nevertheless, France showed the will to comeback when Malouda scored their consolation goal at the 69th minute. However, no further goal was scored, and that’s the final scoreline, 2-1 for the host nation.

It was such a case of “what ifs” for South Africa, as the Uruguay vs Mexico match did not end in a draw as expected, and had they been more prolific in their finishing, they would be in the second round now. But too bad, sometimes things don’t go your way, and that’s exactly what South Africa is experiencing now. In any case, it has been a commendable performances by the host nation, and their performance and experience over the three games and the hosting of this tournament itself will go a long way in shaping the future for the South African football. As for France, this is the end of an era full of turmoil. An era supposed to have ended long ago. But finally it has ended. Now, they only have to look forward to the upcoming Laurent Blanc era and simply just try to forget the forgettable reign of Raymond Domenech, the most hated man in France at the moment.

Written by cp

23/06/2010 at 01:21

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