This is the big one folks. South africa vs European Champions Spain for a place in the semi finals of the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup!
South Africa kicked off their campaign against Iraq on Sunday and were frustrated by the Iraqi's defensive approach a 0-0 draw. I feel that we were very unfortunate not to come away with three points against Iraq but we only have ourselves to blame for not taking our chances. Santana was criticized for starting the match with THREE defensive midfielders, and in the next math against New Zealand the coach used a more attacking line-up which paid off as Bafana ran riot against the hapless 'All Whites', defeating the Oceania Champions by two goals to nil. However were it not for some woeful finishing and excellent saves from the New Zealand keeper the score could easily have been four or five nil.
Spain on the other hand got their Confed Cup campaign off to a flying start when they thrashed New Zealand 5 – 0 in their opening match in Rustenburg. The score line flattered the All Whites who found themselves 4-0 down after only 24 minutes played as Spain showed the fans why they are the number 1 ranked team in World Football at the moment. In their second game against Iraq it was much of the same as the Spaniards dominated the play with crisp passing and great movement off the ball. The only difference in this match however was that the Spaniards were wasteful in front of goal, eventually beating the Iraqi's 1-0 thanks to a second half David Villa header.
The win sealed Vicente Del Bosque's side's place in the semi finals, which could mean that we will be seeing a second string starting 11 on Saturday(if such a thing exists in a team like Spain)
A draw for Bafana on Saturday will be enough to book their place in the semi-finals BUT I believe that playing for a draw against Spain will be suicidal. Joel Santana is renowned for his defensive line-ups but I strongly believe that attack will be our best form of defense in this match. Sitting back and defending against a team with Spain’s attacking abilities will be asking for trouble.
Don't get me wrong though, I'm not saying we have to go at them with everything we have like we did against New Zealand, because with the pace of Fernando Torres and David Villa up front they will definitely hurt us on the counter attack.
Before the match against New Zealand I said we should follow Egypt's example (even though they had lost against Brazil) and after last night's performance against Italy I'm reiterating that statement: Let's follow the example of the African Champions by playing with pride and fighting together as a united for the win. Yes Egypt defended for large parts of the match, but this was only because Italy was going all out in attack, and were it not for some poor counter attacking the Pharaoh’s could have won by more than the solitary goal.
Not many believe that we can get a result from this match against the number 1 ranked team in World Football, but if WE believe in our abilities and play to our strengths then we can pull off the upset of the tournament, such is the nature of the beautiful game where anything is possible.
Let's Get behind Bafana Tomorrow!