Defiant South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira urged his side not to let their heads drop as they seek to bounce back from last night’s potentially costly 3-0 World Cup defeat to Uruguay in Pretoria.
The host nation have been left with an uphill struggle to get through to the last 16 following the loss, which saw Diego Forlan score twice and Alvaro Pereira add a stoppage-time third for the dominant South Americans.
That result left Uruguay at the top of Group A with four points from two games, three points ahead of Mexico and France – who meet in Polokwane later today - and the rock-bottom South Africans.
Parreira, whose side meet 1998 world champions and 2006 runners-up France in the their final group match, said following the Uruguay loss: “Of course nobody is happy, we wanted to get a good result and we knew the game was going to be very difficult, but the 3-0 scoreline doesn’t reflect the game.
“Of course everybody is sad and disappointed, but the competition is not yet finished.
“As I said before, whatever happens in these two games, today and tomorrow, everything will be decided in the last round. The only thing against us now is the big result as the goal difference could play a part.
“The players aren’t happy but they fought well. The Uruguay team is very good and very experienced and I think that experience was crucial.
“Uruguay made the most of their opportunities and neither goalkeeper really had much to do.
“We can’t put our heads down, we have to fight until the end,” added Parreira, who believes his side need to be more assertive in their final match if they are to overcome the French.
“Only by winning do we have a chance of getting through so we have to be more aggressive in that game.
“We still have a chance to get four points, France are difficult but it’s not impossible to beat them.”
Parreira also launched a scathing attack on Swiss referee Massimo Busacca for his performance in the match.
Busacca booked two Bafana Bafana players and, in an incident late on, sent off Itumeleng Khune and awarded Uruguay a penalty after the South Africa goalkeeper was adjudged to have tripped Luis Suarez in front of goal.
Forlan scored from the resulting penalty to make it 2-0 and all but end South Africa’s hopes of getting anything out of the game.
Parreira admitted he did not get a good view of that penalty incident, where television replays indicated Khune had clipped Suarez’s heel, but the former Brazil coach nevertheless was far from happy with Busacca’s overall performance.
“I haven’t seen it properly (the penalty) because there were some players in the way, (but) the players are really annoyed, very angry and very disappointed in the referee,” he said.
“Myself and everyone else said it was the worst refereeing performance in this competition so far. He was giving fouls that weren’t fouls, giving yellows that weren’t yellows and then he left the ground with a smile on his face. I hope we don’t see his face again in this tournament because he probably doesn’t deserve to be here.”
However, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez rubbished Parreira’s claims his side got a helping hand from the referee, saying: “I certainly can’t agree and I even laugh at the suggestion that Uruguay maybe won this game thanks to the referee, because I think we dominated the game throughout. In my view Uruguay won the game deservedly.”