Teko Modise has admitted that South Africa's priority is to exit the World Cup with their heads held high rather than hope for an unlikely qualification to the last 16.
Bafana Bafana are on the brink of elimination after picking up a solitary point from their opening two Group A games.
They must now beat France on Tuesday and hope that Uruguay do not play out a draw with Mexico, while there would also need to be a considerable swing in terms of goal difference.
Modise accepts that South Africa are no longer in control of their own destiny, but insists they have a duty to put on a good show for the supporters.
"Qualification is not in our hands. It depends on the other results in our group," said the midfielder. "So for us the priority is rather about honour.
"We want to do well against France so that we leave the fans with something (positive) to remember us by.
"If it doesn't happen that we qualify, we want to leave the tournament with our heads held high."
France are in the same position as South Africa ahead of the game between the two sides, despite having been tipped as favourites to come through the group.
Modise believes France's poor performances are down to an inability to play as a team.
"They need to start playing like a team and then they might get better results," he said.
"They struggled to qualify for the World Cup despite having so many quality players, although that does not guarantee you will get results.
"This is the toughest tournament in football and a lot of the 'big guns' have struggled."
With the likes of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri left at home by Raymond Domenech, the France coach has also kept Barcelona's Thierry Henry on the bench against Uruguay and Mexico.
South Africa left-back Tsepo Masilela believes that decision is down to Henry having an injury-hit season at the Spanish club.
He said: "I'm not surprised he has not been used yet. If you check the French squad they have left players like Benzema at home because there is so much competition.
"Henry has not played enough games for his club this season but, to be honest, I am not bothered about their team. We are only interested in how we play."