Good morning BETHOME punters! The first game for all nations comes to a close today with the matches being played in Group H. The first round of games has provided some entertainment but tonight the second round of group games gets underway with the clash between host nation South Africa against Uruguay in Group A. Let’s take a closer look at the game…
South Africa - Uruguay
South Africa left a positive impression after their first game against Mexico, which ended in a 1-1 draw. It was clearly evident that Carlos Alberto Parreira’s team began nervously which gave the Mexicans the opportunity to create some good opportunities in the first quarter hour. But then the host nation lifted their performance levels and began to show a presence on the pitch. Left midfielder Tshabalala showed signs of being a decent player and it was he who opened the scoring. He was a constant danger for the Mexicans and created plenty of chances with his left foot. Keeper Khune also played well along with Khumalo in central defence. Modise was exceptional on the right flank, but I personally thought Mphela was best as he continually harassed the Mexican central defending duo and proved he posses a footballing brain. He was very unfortunate in the 90th minute when he hit the post. Bafana Bafana were quite good on the day and I believe they will fight for a place in the following round. Its very unlikely that we will have a change to the starting line-up.
Unlike the host nation, Uruguay were quite a disappointment in their opening game against the mediocre French. Tabarez feared the game and held his team back defensively, which meant their two strikers up front were isolated. Forlan did battle in vain to make life tough for the French defenders but he didn’t get much service from Nacho Gonzalez, who never really got going on the pitch. If we also consider that Suarez was having a bad day then it came as no surprise that the Uruguayans couldn’t score. Nevertheless, the defensive formation of three central defenders with two wing backs worked like a treat and they were never really threatened by the French. The players provided cover for one another and at no stage did they ever get mixed up, while the wing backs did their best to help the team in attack. The only blight on the game for them was the expulsion of Nicolas Lodeiro, who came on to help them in attack but was responsible for giving the French a chance to snatch the game. The head coach is preparing to make changes with Forlan playing in an attacking midfield role behind Cavani (Palermo) and Suarez and four men at the back.
Selection: After the first round of results all four teams in this Group have a point apiece and it looks like it will be an open group until the final game. I think today will be another deadlocked match. I suggest a draw.