World Cup Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
(All times Eastern)
South Africa (0-0-1) vs. Uruguay (0-0-1), 2:30 p.m.
Pretoria, South Africa (Sports Network) - South Africa is in great position to
advance in the FIFA World Cup after its opening match, but must build on a tie
against Mexico when it plays Uruguay on Wednesday.
Supported by 84,490 fans and the hum of the vuvuzela, the hosts started with a
result that could spur the team through to knockout play for the first time in
South Africa failed to advance past group play in its two previous tournaments
but would be the first host to be eliminated at this stage if it fails to earn
a spot in the knockout round.
Considering manager Carlos Alberto Parreira, who coached Brazil to 1994 title,
led the team to a successful opener, anything seems possible for the underdog
"We played against one of the best teams in the world and to walk away with a
point, I think we must be proud of ourselves," South Africa's Steven Pienaar
said, according to club Everton's website, after the Mexico match.
"We just have to go on and we can only get better now."
South Africa leaves Johannesburg to battle Uruguay at Loftus Versfeld Stadium,
and has not lost in 13 straight matches overall.
Aaron Mokoena was the lone South African starter with World Cup experience and
now the team should be more relaxed and confident for the remainder of Group A
Siphiwe Tshabalala scored South Africa's opener in the second half against the
Mexicans, but Rafael Marquez notched the equalizer 11 minutes from time in the
"I'm happy with the way it went," Pienaar said.
South Africa closes the group stage against France, so it desperately needs to
beat Uruguay to avoid a must-win match against the 2006 World Cup runner-up.
Uruguay, which won the World Cup in 1930 and 1950, hasn't enjoyed much success
in the last 40 years. Uruguay qualified for only four of the last eight and is
searching for its first knockout berth since 1990.
The Uruguayans also opened with a tie - 0-0 against France - and need strikers
Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez to produce against South Africa if it intends to
advance through the group stage.
Uruguay played very defensively against France but, considering it was down to
10 men for the closing stages, has to feel good to get a result. Uruguay still
remains in good shape but, like South Africa, needs a win in the second game.
06/15 13:17:50 ET