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World Cup 2010 Review: South Africa

The Bafana Bafana’s World Cup 2010 campaign ultimately ended in disappointment although they left with their heads held high after a win, a draw and a defeat and some exciting attacking football.

They suffered the ignominy of becoming the first host nation to go out in the group stage, but it would be unfair if they were remembered for that fact, because they were drawn into a very tough group and had precious little previous experience on which to draw. The passionate home support spurred them on, but in the end they players just weren’t quite good enough.

The opening game against Mexico  was a fantastic occasion and Siphiwe Tshabalala had the honour of scoring the first goal of the tournament to give the hosts the lead after 55 minutes, but they couldn’t quite hold on and Rafael Marquez equalised for Mexico with eleven minutes to go. Next up, five days later, was the game that wrecked South Africa’s chances of a place in the second round, a 3-0 thumping by a strong Uruguay team. It was close for a long time, but a penalty with ten minutes to go and a late third left Bafana Bafana needing a miracle to get through.

The game against France was undoubtedly the high point of their campaign. Two nil up at half time and playing against ten men after Gourcuff’s red card, the South African’s began to believe that they could score the goals needed to progress when word came through that Mexico were losing. However, despite several good chances, they failed to add to their tally and France eventually got one back to end their hopes. Nevertheless, the win against the 2006 finalists goes down as their best ever  World Cup performance and they will be happy to have been competitive and to have finished above the French.

The South African squad submitted to FIFA was as follows:


1 – GK – Moneeb JOSEPHS – 30 – Orlando Pirates
16 – GK – Itumeleng KHUNE – 22 – Kaizer Chiefs
22 – GK – Shu-Aib WALTERS – 28 – Maritzburg United
2 – DF – Siboniso GAXA – 26 – Mamelodi Sundowns
3 – DF – Tsepo MASILELA – 25 – Maccabi Haifa
4 – DF – Aaron MOKOENA – 29 – Portsmouth
5 – DF – Anele NGCONGCA – 22 – Racing Genk
14 – DF – Matthew BOOTH – 33 – Mamelodi Sundowns
15 – DF – Lucas THWALA – 28 – Orlando Pirates
20 – DF – Bongani KHUMALO – 23 – SuperSport United
21 – DF – Siyabonga SANGWENI – 28 – Golden Arrows
6 – MF – MacBeth SIBAYA – 32 – Rubin Kazan
7 – MF – Lance DAVIDS – 25 – Ajax Cape Town
8 – MF – Siphiwe TSHABALALA – 25 – Kaizer Chiefs
10 – MF – Steven PIENAAR – 28 – Everton
11 – MF – Teko MODISE – 27 – Orlando Pirates
12 – MF – Reneilwe LETSHOLONYANE – 28 – Kaizer Chiefs
13 – MF – Kagisho DIKGACOI – 25 – Fulham
19 – MF – Surprise MORIRI – 30 – Mamelodi Sundowns
23 – MF – Thanduyise KHUBONI – 24 – Golden Arrows
9 – FW – Katlego MPHELA – 25 – Mamelodi Sundowns
17 – FW – Bernard PARKER – 24 – Twente Enschede
18 – FW – Siyabonga NOMVETHE – 32 – Moroka Swallows

How to lose a £1,000 over the World Cup…

On a grey day in England there’s a buzz of anticipation in the air as the World Cup approaches. As football fans up and down the country can almost taste the atmosphere, beer and theatre ahead many wives and girlfriends are preparing for a month of neglect.

I’m getting hitched next year so I though rather than saving diligently for the Wedding I’d instead put £1,000 into my betting account and then write about how I lose it over the World Cup on I my first posts I’ll discuss bets on the World Cup winner, Golden Boot, Group winners and opening matches. If you’ve got any tips send them over in comments or connect with my Twitter account

First up the World Cup winner, the favourites are Spain and Brazil and I can’t argue with that. I’m punting for Brazil (£50 at 5.9-1) and their colossal defence that powered Inter Milan to the Champions League title, I feel Spain may suffer from injury prone players like Torres and Fabregas I’m also going for an outsider and I fancy Holland who I’ve put £20 on at 10-1.

Next is the Golden boot and usual suspects Villa, Torres, Adriano, Rooney and Messi are favourites, I fancy more of a long shot so I’m going for Robinhio £30 at 36-1 who I think could bag a hat-full against North Korea in the group stage. That being said I think one of the Spanish lads could walk away with the Golden Boot as they’ve got by far the easiest group as a whole.

Onto today’s matches and first up South Africa v Mexico, I fancy Mexico to keep hold of the ball and frustrate the Bafana Banfana who will no doubt be pump full of adrenaline, I think Mexico will punish them late in the game so I’m going for £20 on Mexico at 2.72-1.

Next is France v Uruguay and an interesting one, the French seem to be imploding Dutch style already but they’ve got so much talent amongst their ranks. I think Uruguay have enough to frustrate the French who won’t want to lose their opening game so I’m going for £20 on a draw at 3.35-1.

I’m not going to bet on each group just a couple of accumulator trebles the first £20 on Brazil, France and Germany at 5.9-1 and the second £20 on Argentina, Netherlands and Spain at 2.48-1.

So there we go £180 staked, that’s half the cost of the Wedding Dj…. I’ll keep you updated, wish me luck!

World Cup 2010 Warm Up: South Africa 5-0 Guatemala

South Africa recorded the biggest win of their World Cup warm up schedule with a thumping 5-0 victory over Guatemala to further extend an impressive unbeaten run that dates back to a match away in Iceland in October 2009. It’s a run of ten games* without defeat and only three goals have been conceded in that sequence; promising form ahead of the tournament.

This certainly wasn’t the toughest test that Carlos Alberto Parreira and his squad have faced in recent months, but it was a useful workout and provided one last chance for him to assess some of the players ahead of confirming his 23 man squad. There were a couple of landmarks reached to boot. This was the biggest ever win for Bafana Bafana (since their return to international football in 1992) and Aaron Mokoena became the first South African player to reach 100 caps for his country.

Mamelodi Sundowns striker Katlego Mphela opened the scoring with a penalty in the 12th minute and the lead was doubled by Letsholonyane midway through the first half. Another Sundowns player, Surprise Moriri, all but wrapped up the match, adding a third just after half time and Mphela converted another penalty in the 56th minute. The scoring was rounded off by substitute Bernard Parker of FC Twente in the 83rd minute.

This was South Africa’s fourth match in the last two weeks and they complete their finals warm up programme with a friendly against Denmark in Atteridgeville on the 5th of June, six days ahead of the opening World Cup fixture, in which they face Mexico in Johannesburg.

South Africa 5-0 Guatemala (31/05/2010)

Starting Line-up:

46 Sibaya for Letsholonyane
46 Moriri for Modise
46 Moon for Ngcongca
64 Nomvethe for Mphela
64 Booth for Khumalo
70 Parker for Tshabalala

Mphela (pen 12)
Letsholonyane (26)
Moriri (49)
Mphela (pen 56)
Parker (83)

*The run could actually be 11 or 12 games. There was a 6-2 win over Swaziland in January and a 1-1 draw inParaguay in March but neither fixture is listed on the FIFA website. The matches may not have been considered as official first team fixtures.

West Ham set to seal Eidur Gudjohnsen deal

West Ham United are believed to be close to sealing a deal to secure the services of Icelandic forward Eidur Gudjohnsen from Monaco. The 31 year-old has been on the radar at Upton Park for some time, having played alongside current Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola at Chelsea, but the Premier League club failed in an attempt to snap him up last summer when he left Barcelona to move to France.

Gudjohnsen has failed to settle in the French principality after joining AS Monaco just last August. He hasn’t scored a single goal in his nine appearances for Les Rouges et Blanc so far, and is now set to up sticks once more and team up again with Zola in a return to the Premier League after four years away from England’s top flight.

Zola is a keen admirer of Gudjohnsen after enjoying a successful spell together at Stamford Bridge. In their three seasons together up front for the Blues, they shared the princely sum of 79 goals.

Zola has been desperately trying to get another striker through the doors of Upton Park for some time as they look for the perfect partner for current top goalscorer Carlton Cole. A lack of funds denied the Italian from getting his man last summer, but following the club’s takeover this week by David Gold and David Sullivan, he has been given funds to spend in the transfer market and looks set to bag his number one target.

The Hammers are also looking to conclude a deal for 32-year-old Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy. The South African has been on the fringes of Sam Allardyce’s side so far this season and seems set to leave Ewood Park during the January transfer window.

The Cape Town-born forward is hoping for more regular first-team football in a bid to secure a place in the Bafana Bafana squad for this summer’s World Cup finals which take place in his homeland. Blackburn are said to be looking for a fee in the region of £2.5 million for the striker, who is also being tracked by Turkish club Galatasaray.

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