Hosts bow out despite win
Khumalo and Mphela goals not enough for last 16 place
Last Updated: June 22, 2010 5:29pm
Khumalo celebrates his opening goal
World Cup hosts South Africa bowed out of the competition on a winning note after a 2-1 success over dispirited France in Bloemfontein.
Both teams entered the Group A showdown needing to win, and relying on a favour from the other game between Uruguay and Mexico, to stand a chance of reaching the last 16.
And it was South Africa who briefly harboured hopes of scrambling into the knockout phase when they led 2-0 at half-time as Mexico trailed Uruguay in the other match, only for a French consolation to shatter home fans' dreams.
Bongani Khumelo had headed Bafana Bafana into a 20th minute lead before France were down to 10 men after the unfortunate sending-off of Yoann Gourcuff.
Katlego Mphela, who had endured unsuccessful stints in France with Strasbourg and Reims earlier in his career, grabbed a second goal to send South Africa into the break dreaming of qualification.
But Florent Malouda pulled a goal back for France on 70 minutes and South Africa were unable to respond as they became the first host country to exit the World Cup at the group stage.
The build-up to the game had been overshadowed by the shattering of what was left of France's brittle team spirit as Nicolas Anelka had been sent home after the 2-0 defeat by Mexico and the rest of the squad refused to train on Sunday.
Coach Raymond Domenech then wielded the axe for his final match at the helm and that included dropping captain Patrice Evra to the bench as Les Bleus looked to end a wretched tournament on a positive note.
France spurned a good early opportunity when Andre-Pierre Gignac, starting his first game of the tournament, broke into the box, only to shoot tamely at South Africa keeper Moeneeb Josephs.
Chances were scarce until South Africa capitalised on poor play from Hugo Lloris to open the scoring on 20 minutes when Khumalo headed home after the France keeper had missed Siphiwe Tshabalala's corner.
Gignac and Djibril Cisse both fired wide in response to falling behind before France's task was made even more difficult by the harsh 27th minute dismissal of Gourcuff.
The Bordeaux playmaker's forearm caught MacBeth Sibaya as the two jumped to contest the ball and, after initial confusion over whether Gourcuff or Cisse was being sent off, it was the former who trudged off the pitch.
The 2006 runners-up's tournament took a further turn for the worse on 37 minutes as Bafana Bafana grabbed a second goal as Mphela bundled the ball home from close range after France had twice failed to deal with crosses into the box.
And barely 60 seconds later, South Africa thought they had cause to celebrate a third goal only for Bernard Parker's control and crisp finish to be correctly ruled out for offside.
South Africa keeper Josephs was called into a rare piece of action five minutes before the break as he pushed away Franck Ribery's free-kick which had eluded everyone, including the unmarked William Gallas.
But it was Josephs' opposite number Lloris who continued to be kept busiest with a fingertip save from Mphela's swerving low drive prior to the half-time whistle.
The hosts maintained the pressure early in the second half and came close to a third goal when Mphela was played in by a superb pass from Tshabalala only to see his shot clip the outside of the post.
France were largely reduced to optimistic efforts from the likes of Cisse and Ribery either side of Lloris producing a flying save to push away another fine shot from Mphela.
Mamelodi Sundowns striker Mphela was causing the French defence untold problems and was denied by the onrushing Lloris on 61 minutes after breaking into the box.
France briefly stirred from their lethargy 20 minutes from time to score a goal which sounded the death knell for South Africa's hopes of reaching the last 16.
Bacary Sagna's through ball sent Ribery clear and the Bayern Munich winger unselfishly played a square pass for substitute Malouda to tap into an empty net.South Africa were rocked by the goal and only seriously threatened once more before the final whistle when Tshabalala was thwarted by Lloris who, despite his error for the opening goal, may be the sole French player to emerge from the tournament with his reputation enhanced.
|France||Team Statistics||South Africa|
|0||1st Half Goals||2|
|3||Shots on Target||8|
|5||Shots off Target||10|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|1||Shots on Target||5|
|6||Shots off Target||9|