In Wednesday's second round action at the Confederations Cup, Spain added to its near record winning streak by edging Iraq, and South Africa brought joy to the nation by winning its first match.
The Bafana Bafana, South Africa's national football team, conquered Oceanic champions New Zealand on Wednesday night, pleasing over 35,000 spectators at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, as well as the rest of the nation.
Villain to hero
The South Africans got goals in the 21st and 52nd minutes from striker Bernard Parker, who turned from villain to hero after having accidentally kept out what would have been the winning goal in South Africa 's first round, scoreless tie with Iraq.
South Africa Coach Joel Santana was pleased with the way the team played.
Santana says the Bafana Bafana controlled the match and played well tactically in their first ever Confederations Cup victory. The win leaves the South Africans in second place in the group, with four points. First place Spain, which plays South Africa in the final round, has six.
Meanwhile Spain , generally recognized as the best team in the world at the moment, got more than it expected from an Iraq side that was content to defend and counterattack.
The Iraqis, under experienced coach Bora Milutinovic, played a solid game defensively and held the high-scoring Spaniards, who had put five up against New Zealand in their opening match, scoreless for the first half.
But David Villa struck in the 55th minute for the Red Fury, as the team is known to its supporters, and the lead held up for FIFA's number one ranked team.
Spanish midfielder Albert Riera says that Spain is its own biggest rival.
Riera says if Spain keeps playing the way that it has been, it will be difficult for any rival to defeat it.
If Spain can avoid defeat in its final group match against South Africa, it will tie Brazil for the longest ever unbeaten streak in international football history at 35. Also Saturday, New Zealand meets Iraq in the group's other match.