South Africa v New Zealand preview

Game : South Africa v New Zealand

Competition : Confederations Cup 2009 Group A

Venue : Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Date : 17 June 2009, 20.30 South Africa time.

Hosts South Africa will be hoping to pick up all three points when they take on New Zealand in Rustenburg on Wednesday night. Defeat will leave the Bafana having to do the unenviable task of beating European champions Spain in their last game.

South Africa were the better side in the game against Iraq, but they could simply not find a way through. On the one occasion that the ball did get past the goalkeeper, Bafana striker Bernard Parker stopped it from going in.

Steven Pienaar is likely to be fit enough to start, and his presence should lend some more flair and creativity to the South African midfield. Teko Modise was South Africa’s best player on view against Iraq, and will hope for a similar outing.

South Africa results-last five games- all competitions

South Africa 0-0 Iraq
South Africa 1-0 Poland ( Terror Fanteni)
Portugal 2-0 South Africa
South Africa 2-1 Norway (Bernard Parker, Siphwe Tshabalala)
South Africa 0-2 Chile

New Zealand were outclassed by Spain in their tournament opener. The Spanish slammed in four in the first twenty four minutes, and the All Whites were completely overhelmed. Thankfully, Spain managed to score only one more goal, and the scoreline ended at 5-0.

The New Zealand coach criticised his side’s “school boy like” defending. The Oceania champions are clearly missing captain Ryan Nelsen at the back, but coach Ricki Herbert says that they will try their best to at least earn one point in the competition.

Shane Smeltz and Chris Killen are again the key men for New Zealand. If they can grab a goal early, South Africa will be put under pressure.

New Zealand results- last five games- all competitions- New Zealand scorers in brackets.

Spain 5-0 New Zealand
Italy 4-3 New Zealand ( Shane Smeltz, Chris Killen*2)
Botswana 0-0 New Zealand
Tanzania 2-1 New Zealand ( Shane Smeltz)
Thailand 3-1 New Zealand ( Kris Bright)

Verdict:- South Africa do look the slightly better side on paper. The hosts to win 2-1, with Pienaar, Fanteni and Smeltz scoring.

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