On current evidence, there is no ‘outstanding’ team that is expected to win Group A; something which the hosts will be looking to exploit. Mexico were arguably weak in their opening encounter, whilst France and Uruguay played out a contender for this campaigns’ dullest encounter. However, South Africa boss Carlos Parreira will have taken one thing into account having watched countless video’s of this clash – Uruguay are certainly beatable.
The Bafana Bafana’s put in a heroic performance against Mexico last Friday, with only one moment of madness costing them an outstanding victory. Whilst their performance was no doubt impressive, South Africa will have to raise the bar to push for a place in the last sixteen. Uruguay, on the other hand scraped through qualification, and after a tepid performance against the French will have to produce one of their most inspiring performances to battle past not only eleven men, but the hopes of the entire African contingent.
Coach Carlos Parreira is expected to start with the same side that battled against Mexico, although Tepo Masilela could come into the side after coming on as a half-time replacement on Friday. This side is expected to include new cult figure Siphiwe Tshabalala, known for his tremendous strike against Mexico. He told football.fanhouse.co.uk, ‘A win against Uruguay will virtually seal our passage into the second round and make the nation even prouder. Uruguay will be in trouble if we carry on where we left off against the Mexicans.’
Uruguay however banned the media from training sessions this weeks – suggestive of trouble within the camp. Oscar Tbarez is confident that, despite this, La Celeste can qualify. He said, ‘A win here would be massive. It would give is a wonderful chance of getting into the next round so the incentive is there for the players. I’m confident they can make the most of their opportunity.’ Tbarez is expected to name hitman Diego Forlan despite a slight foot problem, although Nicolas Lodeiro is suspended following his dismissal against France.
If South Africa are to gain maximum points from this encounter, they will have to keep Ajax’s Luis Suarez quiet. The forward has pace in abundance, and when provided with decent service – something not seen against the French – contains a real poachers’ ability.
Overall, South Africa have a great chance to pick up maximum points. The atmosphere is likely to favour the home side, whilst the tension amongst the Uruguayan camp may distract their mentality. A Bafana Bafana victory looks huge at 2/1, with Uruguay 7/5 favourites, but I’m confident that the hosts can cause shockwaves and snatch victory.
Prediction: South Africa 1-0 Uruguay