World Cup 2010: Uruguay beats South Africa, 3-0
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA -- On a national day of remembrance for schoolchildren who changed the course of history, South Africa's soccer team did its best to deliver cause for celebration.
But Bafana Bafana were shut out, 3-0, by a superior effort from two-time World Cup champion Uruguay, which seized control early and never relented.
Uruguay was led by its star forward, Diego Forlan, 31, who became the first player in the 2010 World Cup to score two goals for his country. Forlan's first came 24 minutes into Wednesday's match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium; the other followed at the 80-minute mark after a red card sent off South Africa goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
Since the World Cup was first contested in 1930, the host nation has never failed to reach the final 16 in the 32-team tournament. Wednesday's defeat vastly complicates South Africa's hope of keeping that streak intact.
With all four teams in Group A deadlocked at one point each, the pressure was on South Africa to separate itself with a victory or a draw. Instead, Uruguay claimed the richly deserved three points, moving atop the group standings, with a final match against Mexico next.
South Africa, meantime, must face France without not only Khune but also starter Kagisho Dikgacoi, who'll sit after picking up his second yellow card in as many games. Bafana will also lack the momentum they had enjoyed in what seemed like a providential march toward the knockout round, with Wednesday's defeat snapping a streak of 13 matches without a loss.
In an emotional news conference afterward, South Africa's Brazilian-born coach Carlos Alberto Parreira lashed out at the officiating of Swiss referee Massimo Busacca.
"The way he behaved against our team, it was not proper to give a penalty," Parreira said. "He gives fouls that were not fouls; gives yellow cards that were not yellow cards. . . . I hope we don't see his face again. He doesn't deserve to be here."
That said, Parreira acknowledged Uruguay's prowess on the pitch.
"They have experience," Parreira said. "They can use the ball. They can play."
To suggest otherwise would have been absurd.
Uruguay dominated the early going and rarely allowed South Africa a foray into the final third of the field.