Hats off to SA. They fought hard through Steven Pienaar and Tiko Modise controlling the midfield for large parts of the game and creating a number of chances. They came closest to scoring in the 21st minute through Aaron Mokoena who was unable to keep his header down after Tiko Modise floated a cross allowing enough time for the South African captain to sneak up behind Luisao. Then Siphiwe Tshabalala’s well struck free kick from 25 yards out was just parried out by Julio Cesar.
Just before the half, Steven Pienaar cracking shot from 30 yards had Cesar beaten but the ball drifted away from the goalpost. In the second half, Teko Modise’s close range shot deflected off Luisao before hitting the beaten Cesar’s right post in a period of domination from Joel Santana’s side.
It was heading for extra time when Dunga in an inspired move brought in Dani Alves for Andre Santos in the 81st minute. His move was explained later on:
“We knew it was going to be difficult, we knew South Africa were going to attack, to defend and counter attack.”
“The game was very tight so I sent on an aggressive player (Alves) who is very quick and a specialist in set pieces, he practices set pieces every day.
“We had to make use of any opportunity that came our way so a foul in fornt of goal was perfect for us.”
The Barca wing back took a beautifully curling kick in the 88th minute when Mokoena brought down Ramires on the 18 yard line. The ball curled over the hand of the Itumeleng Khune. Brazil were through to the Confederations Cup final where they meet the USA.
After the match Joel Santana said he was pleased with Bafana Bafana’s performance.
“I think we played very well against a team recognised as one of the best in world and even surprised Brazil. I’m very proud.”
Personally, SA’s player has always been Steven Pienaar. He’s made Everton a creative force in the absence of Mikel Arteta and he does the same for the national team. As for Santana himself, he just earned a reprieve. The team looked sharp in this match. As the statistics show, ball possession was fairly even and SA even matched Brazil in the set pieces.