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Bafana are set to make history

2010-06-22 11:57
Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana are bound to make Soccer World Cup history one way or another on Tuesday and hope they are remembered for the right reasons.

South Africa face a troubled France side in their final first-round encounter, with an early elimination on the cards for both sides.

The country will become the only host nation to exit the tournament at the group stages should they fail to beat Les Bleus by a hefty margin and should the clash between Mexico and Uruguay end all even.

On the flip side, Bafana could record only their second-ever win at the showpiece and their most prestigious scalp to date if they down a France side that has become the scandal of the World Cup due to player-revolts and a semi-mutiny against coach Raymond Domenech.

Franck Simon, who is part of the prestigious and highly-respected France Football stable tells Football365.co.za that Bafana have a great chance of recording a win.

Not even taking into consideration the rifts in the Les Bleus camp, which Carlos Alberto Parreira has already labelled irrelevant to the match, Simon says: "They have I think a good record against South Africa, but one that is a decade old: two wins and a draw in Jo'burg in 2000.

"What I sense is that because they will face the host nation, and they already know that this third game will be complicated, because of the crowd's pressure and Bafana Bafana's high motivation, they could be overwhelmed.

"More recently, they lost to Nigeria (0-1 in Saint-Etienne, 2009) and drew with Tunisia (1-1) without showing anything.

"They might have this little feeling of being superior to the Africans, and that complex might cause their elimination," concluded Simon.

The problem, however, is that Bafana's fate no longer rests in their own hands. Even a massive (and unlikely) goal blitz against France could all be undone with a show of anti-football from Mexico and Uruguay.

But Parreira believes the reward of avoiding Argentina in the next round, could spur one of the sides on to clinch victory and Group A.

"Maybe one of the two teams do not want to play Argentina and, they will go for a win. So we will never know what's going on in their minds," said the Brazil.

"The reality is that is it out of our hands but that will not affect our motivation for the game.

"The group is very tough. It would be a disappointment if we were to go out but I do not consider it as a failure.

"What I can promise the South African public is that we are going to give it our best shot. We have accept that this is the World Cup and whatever is thrown against you, you must adapt."

Mexico coach Javier Aguirre insists his men will be gunning for maximum points. "This is the first time I have heard anything about some kind of implicit pact but we are going to go out there to try and win," he said.

"Let us hope football will be the winner, that there will be a robust match and that the best side will win." 

Teams:

South Africa:

1-Moeneeb Josephs, 5-Anele Ngcongoa, 20-Bongani Khumalo, 4-Aaron Mokoena, 3-Tsepo Masilela, 6-MacBeth Sibaya, 23-Thanduyise Khuboni, 10-Steven Pienaar, 8-Siphiwe Tshabalala, 9-Katlego Mphela, 17-Bernard Parker.

France:

1-Hugo Lloris, 2-Bacary Sagna, 5-William Gallas, 17-Sebastien Squillaci, 22-Gael Clichy, 18-Alou Diarra, 19-Abou Diaby, 8-Yoan Gourcuff, 7-Franck Ribery, 11-Andre-Pierre Gignac, 9-Djibril Cisse.

Referee: Oscar Ruiz (Colombia)

More In This Category

Thierry Henry would never consider playing for France again even if new coach and former teammate Laurent Blanc asked him to.
An emotional Diego Maradona says he was betrayed as Argentina coach by national team director Carlos Bilardo.
Carlos Alberto Parreira has left South Africa at the end of his contract with Bafana Bafana, headed for his home in Rio de Janeiro.
Ghana defender John Mensah has refuted claims of a spat with the Ghana Football Association over unpaid Soccer World Cup bonuses.
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