South African optimism badly dented


The vuvuzelas finally died down and South Africa's elation turned to despondency after a disastrous defeat by Uruguay, as attention turned on Thursday to another appearance by the magical Lionel Messi.

South African optimism over avoiding the ignominy of being the first host nation eliminated in the first round was badly dented by a 3-0 drubbing on Wednesday night which gives them only an unlikely chance of qualifying -- depending on what one commentator called a "fairytale" sequence of other results.

Argentina meet South Korea, highlighting World Player of the Year Messi, who has shown rare brilliance in a tournament so far lacking much excitement and a worrying shortage of goals.

Photograph: Reuters

Image: A South African fan reacts after his team's