South Africa defender Matthew Booth is not reading too much into the Kiwis' 5-0 loss to Spain, saying: “When you look back at New Zealand’s friendly against Italy they lost 4-3. I know that was a friendly, but they gave a good account of themselves against a very good team. But we hope for a good result against them. The mood in camp is great, which is a good sign.”
Bafana’s game on Wednesday is a do-or-die affair. If they lose or draw, they will need a result against mighty Spain to make it to the semi-finals.
However, Booth remains optimistic: “We have put the draw against Iraq behind us. The game against New Zealand is a must-win for both teams as we drew and they lost. Against Iraq we were not really settled in the first half. Now we will be more settled when we play New Zealand.
Booth picked up a late knock against Iraq, but has been cleared for action on Wednesday night – great news given his momentous performance at Ellis Park.
Meanwhile, foreign journalists were mystified as to why the crowd were ‘booing’ Booth during the game against Iraq.
Spanish newspaper El Pais and Argentine publication La Confidencial were two that wrote about the “racist black fans” who “booed” the only white member of the side, though many more, interestingly largely amongst the Spanish language press, followed suit.
Of course, the reality was the complete opposite, with fans showing their appreciation for “Booooooooth” by shouting his name every time he touched the ball.
The support from the stands is something that the big defender appreciates and he admits he was fielding a number of questions from the foreign media after the game on Sunday about how he felt about being booed.
“Too many journalists asked me the question!” Booth says. “I guess a lot of people who come to the stadium that are new to football wonder why I am ‘booed’, but it is just the fans calling my name.”