South Africa falls to Uruguay 3-0 as fans quiet
PRETORIA, South Africa – South African fans blew their vuvuzelas long and loud, hoping to bring their team luck in the World Cup.
Uruguay’s Diego Forlan had other ideas and brought the party to a crashing halt, scoring two goals in a 3-0 victory Wednesday night that pushed the hosts closer to exiting the first World Cup staged in Africa. That would be a first for a host country in the World Cup.
While Forlan greatly improved Uruguay’s chances of making the second round, Bafana Bafana almost certainly must beat France in its next game to stay alive.
If South Africa doesn’t advance, “obviously all the expectations of the nation will be frustrated,” coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said. “This game was vital for us to at least get a draw.”
Forlan scored on a deflected 25-yard shot in the 24th minute, then converted a penalty kick in the 80th minute for a commanding lead. Alvaro Pereira added a goal in stoppage time.
“Obviously, as a forward I like to score goals, but the important thing is to win,” Forlan said. “The team is good. We also played well against France. We’re very solid.”
Making matters worse for South Africa, goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was ejected by Swiss referee Massimo Busacca in the 76th minute for clipping the leg of Luis Suarez as the forward jumped over him in front of an open net. Khune lowered his head to the ground and angrily pounded the field with both fists.
Parreira called Busacca “the worst referee in this competition so far.”
“I hope I don’t see his face in any game anymore,” he said.
Backup Moneeb Josephs took over in goal as star midfielder Steven Pienaar exited.
Forlan put the penalty kick over the goalkeeper’s outstretched right hand for his second goal, matching his pair for Atletico Madrid against Fulham in last month’s Europa League final.
The constant bee-like noise from the vuvuzelas immediately ebbed, and streams of fans started exiting, leaving thousands of empty blue seats by the time Pereira knocked in Suarez’s cross.
Uruguay, which opened with a 0-0 draw against France, has four points going into its group-play finale against Mexico on Tuesday. South Africa wasted a second-half lead in a 1-1 tie against Mexico in last week’s World Cup opener, and has one point. It plays France on Tuesday in Bloemfontein.
The situation will become a little clearer Thursday when Mexico meets Les Bleus.
South Africa midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi also will be suspended for the France match after getting a yellow card for the second straight game. He received it for fouling Suarez in the 42nd minute.
Fans were on the streets of Pretoria for hours before the match. It was a national holiday, Youth Day, commemorating the 34th anniversary of the Soweto uprising, when students protested an apartheid-era government order to make Afrikaans the main language in secondary schools.
Loftus Versfeld, a rugby stadium on the grounds that’s been used for sports in Pretoria since 1906, was filled with shivering fans of Bafana Bafana. On an unseasonably cold night, with a 40-degree temperature, they wore their yellow jerseys over winter jackets and many covered their heads with caps in the colors of the multiracial flag South Africa adopted in 1994.
Uruguay went ahead when Forlan’s shot that hit South Africa captain Aaron Mokeona on his shoulder and looped over Khune.
The closest South Africa came to scoring was in the 66th minute, when Katlego Mphela’s close-range header off a cross at the near post was off-target, Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera got the shutout on his 24th birthday.
Switzerland 1, Spain 0
DURBAN, South Africa – Switzerland pulled off a shocking upset at the World Cup on Wednesday, beating European champion Spain 1-0 on Gelson Fernandes’ second-half goal.
Fernandes clipped the ball into the net in the 52nd minute, ending Spain’s run of 12 straight wins and handing the Spanish team its second loss in 50 games. Spain’s only other loss during the stretch was to the United States, at the Confederations Cup in South Africa last year.
Spain outshot the Swiss 24-8 and held the ball 63 percent of the time, but could find no way through Switzerland’s determined defense.
It was Switzerland’s first win over Spain.
Eren Derdiyok created Switzerland’s goal by surging through the center of Spain’s defense and rounding Iker Casillas on one of Switzerland’s rare attacks. Gerard Pique’s desperate tackle stopped Derdiyok, but Fernandes was on hand to pounce on the loose ball and score.
At the final whistle, Fernandes fell to his knees and raised both arms to the sky. The entire team then went to the small section of Swiss fans in the Moses Mabhida Stadium and saluted them as they cheered and rang alpine cow bells.
Chile 1, Honduras 0
NELSPRUIT, South Africa – Jean Beausejour scored the only goal and Chile beat Honduras 1-0 for its first World Cup victory in exactly 48 years.
In a free-flowing match, Chile won the opening game of Group H after Beausejour tapped in a cross from Mauricio Isla in the 34th minute.
Chile came close to doubling its lead on several occasions. In the 62nd minute, Alexis Sanchez sent a clear-cut chance wide after he was put in free by ever-dangerous playmaker Jorge Valdivia. In the 64th minute, defender Waldo Ponce saw his close-range header saved brilliantly by goalkeeper Noel Valladares.
Chile’s last victory during the finals was on June 16, 1962, when it came in third as host of the World Cup by beating Yugoslavia. This is Chile’s first World Cup since 1998, when three draws sent it into the second round.
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