SA hopes dashed as the French get fried

2010-06-17 21:09

At the end of the game between France and Mexico, it was the

non-participants, South Africa, who were the most affected by the result.

As referee Khalil Al Ghamdi blew his whistle for the final time, it

was the South Africans’ second-round hopes that were blown into a million


With Mexico winning 2-0, it now means only goal difference may save

Bafana Bafana – an unlikely scenario given their inability to navigate their way

to goals against quality opposition.

Mexico’s win – courtesy of goals by Javier Hernandez and Cuauhtemoc

Blanco – saw them going level on points with Uruguay, who still occupy the top


Both have four points, a total South Africa can reach should they

defeat France in Bloemfontein on Tuesday.

But even if they beat France, South Africa will have to do so by a

three-goal margin – or even more – and hope that whoever wins between Mexico and

Uruguay on the same day does so by a wider margin too.

In two days, two referees conspired to constipate Bafana Bafana’s

hopes of making it beyond the group stages.

The opening goal for Mexico was a gift from referee Ghamdi, who

should have ruled substitute Hernandez offside.

It was as horrendous as the gaffe by the referee who red-carded

Bafana Bafana keeper Itumeleng Khune and gave Uruguay a penalty in a move that

should have been ruled offside during yesterday’s game.

If ever South Africans needed a reason to take to the streets, they

should do so in protest against these referees whose blunders could mean the

country becomes the first hosts to fail to progress past the first hurdle.

Ghamdi only got it right when he blew for a penalty after Eric

Abidal clumsily brought down Pablo Barrera in the box.

Veteran Blanco made no mistake from the spot, extending El Tri’s

lead in the 78th minute to have the Mexicans waving their green flags, much to

the envy of their France counterparts.

For the French, it was almost a case of having a taste of their own

medicine after they qualified for the tournament through a controversial “Hand

of Frog” goal in their game against Ireland.

Twice in two games, the French had the referees’ decisions unjustly

going against them and costing them the game.

Against Uruguay last Friday, the men in blue had a legitimate

penalty turned down in a game that ended goalless.


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