South Africa’s World Cup dream lies on a knife edge after a 3-0 defeat to Uruguay at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium last night. The mood of the fans which have created the vibrant atmosphere at the tournament was severely dampened after Diego Forlan opened the scoring with a stunning strike from distance which found the net on 28 minutes and left the distraught keeper Kunhe stranded.
The hosts where simply outclassed as they allowed an inspired Forlan to run the game from midfield. South Africa had their fair share of chances in the opening exchanges and an understandably confident Siphiwe Tshabalala tried some audacious efforts from distance on numerous occasions in an attempt to claw their way back into a game their opponents dominated from start to finish.
Kuhne was involved again as he came racing out with an outstretched leg that caught Uruguayan forward Suarez in the box denying a clear goal scoring opportunity. The Swiss referee wasted no time pointing to the spot and showing the South African keeper a straight red card. A confident penalty from Forlan placed into the top right corner made it 2-0 after 80 minutes.
Forlan was involved again in the third as his cross field pass found Suarez who crossed for Alvaro Pereira to duly head in a third from close range in the 95th minute to make it 3-0 leaving Bafana Bafana’s place in the competition hanging on a thread. Continued involvement in the World Cup now depends on a draw between Group A opponents Mexico who play France tonight and then a South Africa win against France next week which even the most optimistic of South African supporters would admit is a stretch.
A South African exit at this stage is more likely to see the atmosphere of the World Cup diminish as the relentless buzz of the Vuvuzela horns and the song and dance of the optimistic South Africans have so far characterized this year’s tournament which has faced criticism for its negative tactics from teams, lack of entertainment and empty seats at games.