Game : Spain vs South Africa
Competition : Confederations Cup Third place playoff game
Venue : Royal Bakofeng Stadium, Rustenburg
Kickoff : 28 June, Sunday, 15.00 South Africa time.
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After being upset by unfancied USA in the semifinals, European champions Spain are expected to come out all guns blazing when they take on hosts South Africa in the third place playoff match on Sunday afternoon.
La Furia Roja, overwhelming favourites to win the Confederations Cup saw their thirty five game unbeaten streak halted by Bob Bradley’s USA in the semis. The USA neutralised Xavi, and Spain’s strikers did not get their usual supply of balls from midfield. Spain also missed Marcos Senna, a man who would have been able to hold his own against the physical game of the Americans.
But Vicente del Bosque said that the result was an “accident”, and he is probably right on that occasion. If USA and Spain meet again in the near future, you will consider the latter, and not the former, favourites.
Spain may give a few of their reserve players a go in this third place playoff. Star striker Fernando Torres has said that he wants to win this game for his countrymen. Both Torres and Villa will again prove to be a tough test for Matthew Booth, Aaron Mokoena and company.
Spain form- last five games- all competitions- Spain scorers in brackets
USA 2-0 Spain
Spain 2-0 South Africa ( David Villa, Cesc Fabregas)
Spain 1-0 Iraq ( David Villa)
New Zealand 0-5 Spain ( Fernando Torres*3, David Villa, Cesc Fabregas)
Azerbaijan 0-6 Spain ( David Villa*3, Albert Riera, Dani Guiza, Fernando Torres)
South Africa won many hearts with their performance against Brazil. They proved to be the equal of their opponents for most of the game, until a late free kick won by Ramires allowed Brazil to score the goal they needed. Barcelona defender Dani Alves, a set piece specialist, curled the ball past Bafana keeper Khune to break the hearts of the local fans.
Steven Pienaar once again played well in midfield, and Matthew Booth had another good outing in defence. There wasn’t much wrong with the way South Africa played, but one felt they needed more clinical finishing in the final third of the field.
South Africa form- last five games- all competitions- South Africa scorers in brackets.
Brazil 1-0 South Africa
Spain 2-0 South Africa
New Zealand 0-2 South Africa ( Bernard Parker*2)
South Africa 0-0 Iraq
South Africa 1-0 Poland ( Terror Fanteni)
Verdict:- Spain beat South Africa in the group stages comfortably, and I think they’ll do it again.
Spain 3-0 South Africa ( Torres, Villa, Xavi Hernandez)