Confederations Cup: Iraq hold South Africa

The party did not go as planned after Sepp Blatter kicked off the Confederations Cup, the curtain raiser to the 2010 World Cup.
“Dear friends, FIFA is committed to Africa. Brothers and sisters, I would like to say a lot of thanks to the people of South Africa, to the African continent, who have organized this competition,” Blatter told the cheering crowds.
The opening match between Iraq and South Africa ended in a 0-0 stalemate. The hosts have relatively weak competition in Iraq and New Zealand, with only Spain providing a tough test. This draw raises real doubts of progress under Joel Santana who has had a better run in recent matches against African competition.
Bafana Bafana was guilty of not putting away their chances even though they controlled the ball for most of the match. Their Premiership stars were non-entities.
Steven Pienaar was introduced very late in the second half and Benni McCarthy, the all time leading scorer was not even in the line up.
Iraq threw back players and their stonewalling defense infuriated Joel Santana. Mohammad Kassid, Iraq’s goalie also came up with some huge saves. The Iraqis enjoyed a big slice of luck when Kagisho Dikgacoi’s header was inadvertently cleared off the line by team mate Bernard Parker.
“Our opponent never tried to play football,” Santana said. “They tried to paralyze the game.”
At the other end, Iraq’s coach Bora Milutinovic was very pleased with the result.
“I’m very happy because we got one point. Now we are alive and we have more than two days to prepare for the game against Spain.”
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