The vuvuzelas might have become a little quieter as the South African squad made an exit in Tuesday’s action.
France’s internal struggles became very evident as the team went a man down early and allowed the South Africans to score two goals. The French were able to capitalize on a scoring chance but still lost the game 2-1. The South Africans, had they scored enough goals to make up goal differentials, would have advanced to the next round. Instead, the team became the first host country not to advance to the round of 16. At least the Bafana Bafana went out in style, eliminating the 2006 finalist French team.
Uruguay and Mexico could have played to a draw and both advanced easily. Uruguay, presumably hoping they could help South Africa to advance, fought with fury to defeat the Mexicans. Uruguay pulled out a 1-0 victory, but didn’t defeat the Mexicans by enough goals to send the South Africans through.
The group did end up to be one of the most competitive groups, as we predicted, because all four teams could have advanced easily had the circumstances been favorable for the team. The Uruguay team looked strong in all three games and could give some of the favorites a run for their money. Mexico, while a solid team, will likely lose to Argentina in its next game.
Uruguay and Mexico advance. South Africa and France eliminated. (The State News had France and Mexico advancing.)
Another hard-fought group in which any team had a possible chance to advance, Argentina dashed Greece’s chance with a 2-0 win. Argentina looked strong in its third win and deservedly won the group.
South Korea was able to hold onto a 2-2 tie to secure second place in the group and eliminated Nigeria. The win assures the Koreans their first knockout stage outside of home, when it co-hosted the tournament with Japan in 2002.
It would have been nice to see an African side advance out of either of the first two groups, but it didn’t happen. Greece could have used the extra boost in morale with the economy at home, but it was still a decent run.
Argentina and South Korea advance. Nigeria and Greece eliminated. (The State News had Argentina and Nigeria advancing.)