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The host nation is under pressure to get three points against New Zealand in Rustenburg after a goalless draw with Iraq has left them with it all to do.

Kick-off: Wednesday, June 17 2009, 20:30 (CET)
Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg, South Africa.

New Zealand and South Africa were both disappointed with the results they registered in the first round of matches in this year’s Confederations Cup, with a heavy loss for the Oceania champions and a draw for the hosts putting a great emphasis on this match.

Three Points Are A Must


This year the Confederations Cup is in South Africa - the host nation for the 2010 World Cup - and it is imperative for Bafana to make it to the semi-final, finishing in the first two spots in a group that includes Iraq, New Zealand and Spain. This was made more difficult on Sunday afternoon at Ellis Park, when South Africa were held to a 0-0 draw by Asian representatives Iraq.

With a raucous crowd behind them, the South Africans had a glorious chance to score in the 85th minute of the Group A match. Kagisho Dikgacoi's header appeared destined for the Iraqi net, but team-mate Bernard Parker inadvertently blocked the ball with his leg. That game, though painfully fresh in their memories, needs to be forgotten ahead of the New Zealand clash.

Bafana’s main aim in the competition is slowly slipping away and they need to take control of their destiny with a win over New Zealand in Rustenburg. There are no ifs, ands or buts, a win and only a win can do the South Africans any good.

New Zealand Out To Win A Point

New Zealand’s quest for their first-ever point at a Confederations Cup takes on added importance against South Africa in Rustenburg tomorrow afternoon. Considering how the team have played in friendlies before the tournament, and even against Spain, a point may not be out of the question.

A draw against Bafana Bafana, who played out a lacklustre draw against Asian champions Iraq in their opening match, would not only make history for Ricki Herbert’s men, but would also set them up for an even bigger prize: a place in the semi-finals. “If we get a result against South Africa then it’s going to go down to the last game, irrespective of whether we win or draw, so it will be a bit of history in itself,” Herbert said.

With tournament favourites Spain just two games shy of a world record unbeaten streak and likely to continue their destructive form against Iraq and South Africa, Herbert knows the pressure is on the hosts to pick up full points when they can, adding something extra to his side’s chances.

FORM GUIDE

South Africa


14 June: South Africa 0-0 Iraq

6 June: South Africa 1-0 Poland

30 May: South Africa 2-0 Mauritius

New Zealand

14 June: New Zealand 0-5 Spain

10 June: New Zealand 3-4 Italy

6 June: Botswana 0-0 New Zealand

TEAM NEWS

South Africa


Teko Modise and Steven Pienaar shook off injuries to take part in the Iraq game, although Pienaar only played a handful of minutes at the end of the match. He will be expecting to play from the start against New Zealand.

Possible team
: Khune, Booth, Gaxa, Masilela, Davids, Mokoena, Sibaya, Pienaar, Modise, Mashego, Parker.

New Zealand

New Zealand go into this encounter with a full strength squad, including no suspensions after a clean game against Spain that did not even produce a yellow card. The only injury concern is full-back Aaron Scott, who picked up a slight knock on Monday.

Possible team: Moss; Mulligan, Lochhead, Vicelich, Boyens; Bertos, Elliott, Brown, Barron; Smeltz, Killen.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

South Africa

Bernard Parker
has been a revelation for the South African national team over the last year, scoring goals and making a case as a potential Benni McCarthy replacement. He is one of the few players in the Bafana squad who have shown a prolific scoring ability, and against New Zealand he will hope to make his rapidity and finishing count.

New Zealand

Youngster Chris James is proving to be a useful attacking midfielder for the All Whites and one to watch in the future. He will be hoping to get the nod against South Africa in Rustenburg.  

PREDICTION


The South African squad knows that anything short of the maximum three points will leave them stranded in the tournament, and they will be fired up to get a result.

South Africa 2-1 New Zealand

Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com

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