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Page last updated at 18:06 GMT, Friday, 11 June 2010 19:06 UK

World Cup 2010: Parreira says South Africa can progress

South Africa celebrate scoring the opening goal of World Cup 2010

Highlights - South Africa 1-1 Mexico

South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira believes their 1-1 draw with Mexico keeps their hopes of reaching the World Cup last 16 alive.

Siphiwe Tshabalala put the tournament hosts ahead and they looked on course for a sensational victory until Rafael Marquez struck 12 minutes from time.

"We could easily have won the game, but all in all a draw was a fair result," said Brazilian Parreira.

"We are still in the competition. This group is very tough."

Parreira, who is coaching at his sixth World Cup, said his team had initially frozen under the weight of expectation as they were outplayed by the Central Americans in the first half.

"The opening game is always a lot of pressure and today was no different," the Brazilian said.


"Most of our team are a home-based team, players who are not used to this big environment, and we tried hard to adapt to this ambience, but after 15 minutes we started playing our game, putting the ball on the ground.

"We knew this Mexico team was the most daring in the World Cup, they are full of quality. In the second half we made the game more balanced and had chances to even have won it."

Parreria said the draw leaves Bafana Bafana well placed to qualify from a group that also features former World Cup winners Uruguay and France.

No host nation has ever failed to progress beyond the first round.

"I believe that the ice has been broken," he said. "The result was not the one we wanted but whatever happens against Uruguay, this group will be decided in the last game against France."

After a one-sided first half, Tshabalala sent the crowd into raptures by rounding off a lightning counter-attack with a left-footed rocket into the top corner in the 55th minute.

"It was a great goal, very special for me," said Tshabalala, who instigated a celebratory dance routine with his team-mates.

"It was something of a present because I was celebrating my 50th appearance."

The goal appeared to instil confidence in the hosts, only for their hopes of victory to be undone by some woeful defending.

An attempt to play the off-side trap backfired, leaving Barcelona's Marquez completely unmarked to control a deep cross at the far post and slot home in the 79th minute.

The South Africans came close to scoring a winner in the last minute when striker Katlego Mphela raced through on goal but his shot rebounded agonisingly off the near post.

"That could have been the killer goal," said Tshabalala. "It would have been a great goal. There's nothing we can do about it."

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see also
Mexico coach rues missed chances
11 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup begins in South Africa
11 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Nelson Mandela relative 'killed'
11 Jun 10 |  Africa
World Cup day one photos
11 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup nerves for South Africa
08 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Who will win the Golden Boot?
10 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Who are the champions?
09 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
BBC's World Cup coverage and team
08 Jul 10 |  BBC coverage
World Cup Photo Album
12 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
Ten to Tackle World Cup special
09 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010

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