Bloemfontein: It was a superb performance by the hosts South Africa as they knocked France out of the World Cup with a hard fought 2-1 victory in front of an electric local crowd.
However, South Africa became the first host country in the FIFA World Cup history to crash out in the opening round despite the victory. They would take heart from the manner they played their football, almost making it to the next round had it not been the goal difference with Mexico.
France had finally come up with their first goal of the World Cup as Florent Malouda slammed one into the nest in the 70th minute. With the clock ticking fast, the French had to come up with something miraculous real soon. But, it was not meant to be as the controversy ridden outfit were sure to take the bus of shame back home.
The French team ended their miserable World Cup outing at the bottom of the Group, a clear indication of the shame they have inflicted on the nation.
It was a merciless march forward by South Africa against a sinking France as Katlego Mphela hit the second goal of the evening. The French defence crumbled like a thin wafer beneath the Vuvuzelas as the Proteas were in full song.
France began the second half pressing, inspired by Ribery chasing down the South Africans, an intriguing battle that was well defended by the hosts.
Bongani Khumalo started the goal frenzy in the 20th minute as Bafana Bafana sentiments rose to an all time high. With the 1-0 lead in the do-or-die encounter, the French team had an early look into misery.
The crucial tie between France and South Africa began with Raymond Domenech’s men trying to dominate from the word go. However, it was the hosts who reversed the equations early.
Frank Ribery was on the ball early-on but his kick wasn’t fully powerful for making a dream start fragment into reality.
France coach Domenech dropped Patrice Evra, Eric Abidal, Jeremy Toulalan, Florent Malouda, Sidney Govou and, of course, the insubordinate Nicolas Anelka. Sebastien Squillaci, Gael Clichy, Alou Diarra, Yohann Gourcuff, Andre-Pierre Gignac and Djibril Cisse were their replacements.
Line-up: Lloris, Sagna, Squillaci, Gallas, Clichy; Diaby, Gourcuff, A. Diarra; Ribery, Gignac, Cisse
South Africa coach Carlos Parreira will have to make do without the services of suspended goalie Itumeleng Khune and has given Moeneeb Josephs the nod between the sticks. Aditionally, Teko Modise has been dropped in favour of Bernard Parker. Kagisho Dikgacoi also misses the match due to suspension.
Line-up: Josephs; Masilela, Mokoena, Ngcongca, Khumala; Sibaya, Tshabalala, Khoboni, Pienaar; Parker, Mphela