Bafana Bafana Lose to Street Smart UruguayJune 16, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Posted in World Cup 2010 | 8 Comments
Poor South Africa. They managed to convince FIFA to give them the World Cup, and then timed the hosting of it it with a very poor generation of South African players.
Those of you who have seen Invictus starring Morgan Freeman will know the story of the 1995 Rugby World Cup where underdogs South Africa took the trophy on home soil against all odds, defeating mighty New Zealand in the final. I believe many South Africans hoped the same miracle could happen twice. Sadly, such hopes were dashed by a cute little blonde called Diego Forlan.
When England went out of the 1992 European Championships at the hands of Sweden, a little boyish looking striker called Thomas Brolin scored the goal that put them out. One English commentator hilariously asked: “how could someone so cute do so much damage?” It was the same today as Forlan scored two goals to break South African hearts.
Forlan and Uruguay played a master class of street smart football today. The key moment of the match was the penalty decision when Suarez was “brought down” by South Africa’s keeper Khune, who was summarily sent off. This incident illustrates the folly of FIFA’s automatic send-off where a keeper brings down a player in the box. The game was delayed for at least 5 minutes as the arguments and substitutions for a new keeper were made. The keeper should be given a yellow and allowed to stay on unless he tried to deliberately injure the player in the process. The pass through which resulted in the penalty was offside as well. This is how street smart teams like Uruguay grind out goals to win.
Controversial penalty aside, South Africa were clearly the inferior team, not getting a shot on Uruguay’s goal until the second half of play. Uruguay was a constant threat to score and kept SA pinned in their own end with some magnificent football. Amazing how a football-mad nation of 3.5 million people can defeat a football-mad nation of 50 million people. Uruguay’s proud tradition of football won today. That tradition includes two world Cups, won in 1930 and 1950 (on Brazilian soil, no less) and a semi-final in 1970.
So far the South African World Cup has been fantastic, (although thus far it has been dominated by defenders, not strikers) and South Africa deserves tremendous credit. What a shame this generation of South African players is not up to the task.