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Wednesday, June 16

South Africa 0-3 Uruguay

Diego Forlan

This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. It was Youth Day in South Africa, the stadium in Pretoria was loud with vuvuzelas and the Bafana Bafana players were singing (surprisingly melodiously for a in the tunnel. The table was set for a South African victory, but Uruguay ate the hosts for dinner instead. I think I just accidentally made a cannibalism metaphor. For the record, the Uruguayan players are not cannibals. But on the evidence of this game, they are a dangerous group of men.

The joys of watching South Africa vs Mexico last Friday were not to be found here. I think we were all excited to see the dreadlocks of Siphiwe Tshabalala flying down the left wing again, but Uruguay right back Maximiliano Pereira was not letting that happen.

What did happen was Diego Forlan. In the 24th minute, Uruguay’s headbanded #10 – apparently playing behind Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani – cracked a shot from distance:
South Africa 0-1 Uruguay

Looks like a slight deflection of captain Aaron Mokoena’s back, but that strike had an air of unstoppability about it anyway.

This wasn’t the same Uruguay team that – in hindsight – clearly played for and got a 0-0 draw against France. Instead, this was a Uruguay team interested in scoring goals. South Africa had a couple of moments too, but from the second Forlan scored, this all felt strangely inevitable.

Strangely inevitable became absolute certainty in the 76th minute when the ball broke for Luis Suarez to be one on one with South African keeper Khune. The keeper made a clumsy sit-down tackle, and Suarez responded by doing a splits/dive combo that won Uruguay a penalty and meant the ref had to send Khune to the dressing room.
South Africa 0-2 Uruguay

Diego Forlan happily stepped up to smash it past substitute keeper Moeneeb Josephs and high into the roof of the net, making Forlan the first player to score more than one goal in a game at World Cup 2010. But the misery wasn’t over. In fifth minute of added time, Luis Suarez crossed for Álvaro Pereira to knock home a third.
South Africa 0-3 Uruguay

So, 3-0 to Uruguay, who suddenly look very strong with four points from two games in Group A, and South Africa are in imminent danger of being the first host nation to fail to advance beyond the group stage.

Man of the Match: Mr. Diego Forlan, for proving the Jabulani will do what you want it to. You just have to hit it really really hard.