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Three quick thoughts: South Africa-Uruguay (World Cup Group A)


Three quick thoughts after Uruguay's 3-0 victory over host South Africa in Group A:

1. South Africa is probably done. Barring a miraculous turn of events, South Africa will be the first host country in history to fail to advance past the group stage. Technically, Bafana Bafana are still alive, but given their -3 goal differential and the fact they play France next, it seems likely they will disappoint their fans. It is a sad development. It makes for a much more exciting World Cup when the host nation makes a run. Many questions should be asked of South Africa manager Carlos Alberto Parreira, who has always been overrated. When he hasn't been coaching Brazil, he hasn't won in the World Cup.

2. Diego Forlan was fantastic. Not only did he score the game's first goal, a deflected, 20-yard shot from outside the box in the 24th minute, and convert a penalty kick in the 80th, but he was poised all game, knowing precisely when to slow the game down and when to press forward. He whipped in precise crosses all game, which contrasted with South Africa's problems in that area. It was one of the best showings of any player thus far in the tournament.

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3. Steven Pienaar was not fantastic. This tells you the kind of night that Pienaar had: After Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune received a red card and conceded the penalty kick, Parreira pulled Pienaar to bring on another goalkeeper. At that point, South Africa was trailing by a goal and was likely to be down two after the penalty, and yet Parreira took off his most gifted offensive player. Pienaar might have been tired; he gave good effort. But he never raised his level of play, and given the sparkling play turned in by Forlan, it looked like one star stepped up and the other did not.