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World Cup: South Africa Easily Defeats Slovenia - 2002-06-08


In Group B action Saturday at the World Cup football finals, South Africa defeated Slovenia, 1-0.

South Africa's 1-0 victory over Slovenia here puts it in second place in Group B behind Spain, which on Friday beat Paraguay, 3-1, to become the first team to qualify for the second round.

South Africa scored only four minutes into this game and rarely appeared to be seriously threatened.

The goal came off a long free kick by Quinton Fortune from several meters beyond the top left corner of the box. Forward Siyabonga Nomvethe tried to get his head onto the high-arching kick, but instead the ball flicked off his right thigh as he moved forward and went straight into the goal.

South African coach Jomo Sono said his team did what it set out to do.

"We scored an early goal, which was a break, but the second half I think the players were a bit nervous," he said. "We started giving the ball away and they started coming at us. But overall I was happy. It was not a nice game, but today we didn't come here to play a nice game. We came here to win."

There were few quality scoring chances for either side, and the Africans were good at shutting down Slovenia's attack, which was without star Zlatko Zahovic. He was sent home after a dispute with his coach after the team's opening defeat by Spain.

South Africa's 1-0 win leaves Slovenia with two losses in two games in its World Cup debut, with no chance of reaching the second round.

But Slovenia's coach, Srecko Katanec, said he is not disappointed.

"We are proud because we are here. We showed, I think, that we are competitive. We were into the game also with Spain [a 3-1 loss last Sunday] until five minutes before the end. Also today, I think we were playing good football," he said. "So I'm proud for this and we want to also play in this mode for the third [group] game, and we want to win one game in the World Championship."

Slovenia's final Group B game is on Wednesday against Paraguay, which has one point and needs a win to have any chance of advancing. South Africa has four points for second place in Group B behind Spain (6 pts), and plays Spain in its final round-robin match, also on Wednesday. The South Africans need only a tie to join Spain in the second round.

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