Watch VideoPlay Video
The catastrophic French campaign was capped off by a 2-1 loss to South Africa on Tuesday, leaving France reeling and making Bafana Bafana the first host team to be eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup.
Bongani Khumalo and Katlego Mphela scored a goal each in the first half against 10-man France. Florent Malouda pulled one back for the French in the 70th.
Uruguay and Mexico both advanced from Group A. The Uruguayans beat Mexico 1-0 in the other group match.
"Of course we're disappointed we did not qualify but I do not consider this a failure," South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said of a run that ended on a positive note for his team. "I believe the whole country is proud."
Khumalo put Bafana Bafana ahead in the 20th when he outjumped France midfielder Abou Diaby to knock a cross from Siphiwe Tshabalala into the net with his shoulder. Mphela doubled the lead in the 37th, outmuscling defender Gael Clichy to reach a low cross from Tsepo Masilela and scramble the ball across the line.
Just to accentuate a disastrous World Cup for the French, Yoann Gourcuff was sent off for elbowing Macbeth Sibaya in the 25th, leaving the 2006 finalists with 10 men. Despite the numerical disadvantage, Malouda made it 2-1 when he knocked in a cross from Franck Ribery.
"I'm sad for all the fans and everyone who support the French team," France coach Raymond Domenech said. "It's the hard and harsh reality of our situation. So I have a genuine sense of sadness."
After playing with a lone striker in its first two matches, South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira opted to play two men up front against France -Bernard Parker and Mphela - and it paid off.
Mphela caused trouble for the French defense, with strong runs and dangerous drives from distance. He nearly scored his second goal in the 43rd with a right-foot drive from 25 meters (yards) that forced a diving save from France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Mphela continued to bother France's backline after the break, and should have scored in the 50th when he ran onto a pass from Steven Piennar, but his right-foot shot hit the crossbar.
|The catastophic French campaign was capped off by a 2-1 loss to South Africa on |
Tuesday, leaving France reeling and making Bafana Bafana the first host team to be
eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup.