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Jon Riley 15th Jun 2010 - 10:18

South Africa's going absolutely Bafanas!

The South African nation waited for more than six years for their first game as host nation at the 2010 World Cup. Well, the first game has passed but after two draws in Group A we are no closer to determining who will progress through to the knockout stages of the tournament.

After a poor first half against Mexico, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira would have no doubt had some choice words for his players at half time, and the was a different story after the break. Minutes in to the second half Siphiwe Tshabalala gave his side the lead with a truly breathtaking finish. His angled drive flew past Mexican keeper Perez and sent the home fans into ecstasy.

The Bofana Bofana created several chances after their goal, they seemed lifted and played with the spirit of a host nation that believed they could go far at the World Cup.

They were undone though by woeful defending. The unmarked Rafael Marquez was left in the box to smash home an equalizer and break South African hearts.

Even then though they had chances to turn a point into three but Katlego Mphela missed a guilt edged opportunity.

Uruguay will be quietly confident after watching the first half, Mexico had several excellent chances to score, and should have been out of sight by half time. With the quality of Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, who have nearly 80 goals at club level between them, South Africa defenders will need to make sure chances are given at a premium.

They were kept quiet by the French defence in their opening match but Diego Forlan did manage to create a couple of half decent chances for himself.

Uruguay looked a very composed unit against the French, but they will be without the highly rated Nicolás Lodeiro after he got sent off against France. Two yellow cards in the second half equalled a red and means that Lodeiro misses this game.

Uruguay are favourites to win this match at 11/8 but if you feel that South Africa will be inspired by the thousands of vuvuzuela blasting fans in the crowd then they can be backed at 9/4.

If either team is to qualify then this match cannot be a lost and a decent bet could be the draw at 2/1. If the score is still tied going into the second half then it could become a cagey affair with both teams wanting to win but unable to accept defeat.

But Uruguay showed enough in the game against France to suggest that if they perform they should have enough to see of the host nation, even with the incredible support that Bafana Bafana have. You feel that if Suarez or Forlan play to their potential, they will just have too much class for Aaron Mokoena and the rest if the South African defence. It won't be easy for Uruguay and they will need the likes of Ignacio González to provide greater service for the front two.

Forlan is priced at 9/2 to open the scoring and 6/5 to hit the back of the net at anytime while his strike partner Suarez can be backed at 11/2 and 6/4 in those respective markets.

For the hosts Katlego Mphela is likely to start up front as the lone striker once again, although he missed a couple of chances he was a real handful for the Mexican defenders. He is 6/1 to open the scoring and 7/4 anytime. Siphiwe Tshabalala is 8/1 to open the scoring once again, if he can fire another world class strike in he'll be hailed as a national hero!


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