Early qualifiers for next year Pt 6

South Africa

Urged on by the vuvuzelas, next year’s hosts earned a creditable third place in the Confederations Cup.

In fact, only a late strike from Brazil’s Daniel Alves and an extra time stunner from Xabi Alonso denied Bafana Bafana the glory their enthusiasm and tenacity probably merited.

Of course Alonso publicly belittled the African trumpets, complaining that the noise they generate is hideous.

With this one comment the Basque midfielder almost certainly guaranteed he and his team mates will hear a lot more of them in 2010.

That said, Bafana Bafana will need more than trumpets and a prodigious work rate to make much progress next summer.

Much will rest on the form of Steven Pienaar and a posse of Europe-based players who will probably drag them to the last 16 but no further.

Then the angry bees will swarm around Spain and Alonso, forcing an early exit. After all, this is the World Cup.

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