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South Africa, France Eliminated From World Cup

  • Delia Robertson

South Africa's Bafana Bafana beat France 2-1 in Bloemfontein Tuesday but the win was not enough to take the home team into the second round of the tournament.

It was a re-invigorated Bafana Bafana who came onto the field in Bloemfontein where they convincingly dominated a lackluster France in the first half.

The first goal came from Bongani Khumalo in the 20th minute off a cross from Siphiwe Tshabalala, and sent the crowd in the stadium into a frenzy of delight. Vuvuzelas sounded across the country wherever people gathered to watch the game.

Katlego Mphela scored in the 37th minute off some fumbled passes by his team mates right in front of the French posts.

France came out looking far more determined in the second half and then veteran Thierry Henry seemed to inspire his team who began to control the ball. Florent Malouda scored for France in the 70th minute.

In the other Group A match, Uruguay beat Mexico 1-0 and both these teams will advance to the round of 16. Mexico and South Africa each had four points in the final Group A standings but Mexico advances on a better goal difference.

Even though South Africa is the first host country not to advance to the second round, South African supporters in a bar in Johannesburg said Bafana Bafana has done very well. Roderick says it should not be forgotten that South Africa is very low down in the international rankings.

"All I have ever wanted from this team," Roderick said. "Never forget we are ranked 83 in the world, we won one, we lost one, we drew one."

Tumi Muleko was just as enthusiastic.

"You know for the South African spirit they did us proud," Muleko said. "All for the South African spirit. Go Boys. They put up a good fight, they really, really did. And I am happy, I am really, really happy."

South Africans would have been deeply disappointed if the team had not done well against France, many saying that even one goal would have been good enough. Today's result was better than many expected.

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