Confederations Cup: Spain Defeat South Africa As Both Qualify

La Furia Roja narrowly overcame an energetic Bafana Bafana, but both qualify for the next round...
Spain 2-0 South Africa
Confederations Cup Tables, Fixtures, Results

Two second half goals from Spanish forwards put Vicente Del Bosque's side into the semi-finals, while brave South Africa reach the next stage by the narrowest of margins.

A penalty save by Itumeleng Khune from David Villa seemed set to keep South Africa level after the break, but El Guaje promptly netted a minute later before substitute Fernando Llorente sealed the result.

The first five minutes saw Spain dominate possession completely, albeit with little incisiveness, before South Africa belatedly arrived as a force on the pitch.

Bafana Bafana began to threaten more and more heading towards the 20 minute mark, not just by winning a series of set pieces in a dangerous area, but deliveries from Modise were disappointing.

Indeed, barring a few speculative passes from Xavi and some well-ran counters from South Africa, it was a scrappy affair in which the yellow cards flew.

Spain struggled to create too many clear-cut chances while South Africa, defending well, couldn't hold possession.

Still, a great chance came ten minutes before the break. Fernando Torres' low drive brought out a great save from Khune before Matthew Booth hacked the ball clear.

Just after the break the Furia Roja should have taken the lead as Aaron Mokoena went in late and hard on the impressive Cesc Fabregas in the box.

David Villa stepped up for the penalty kick, but found his effort palmed clear by the superb Khune before the 'keeper then held Fernando Torres' rebounded shot.

But as fans and players celebrated, Villa got on the end of Busquets' fine cross from deep, snuck between the snoozing centre-backs, controlled the ball - perhaps with his hand - before expertly side-footing into the far corner of the net.

South Africa's discipline began to go after that as Spain sat back, the Bafana picking up two yellow cards in quick succession.

There was some danger as Sundowns star Siboniso Gaxa whipped in several crosses from the right, but for the most part Spain were in control.

Indeed, from a free-kick out on the right twenty minutes from time, substitute Fernando Llorente seized the ball and tapped in from eight yards.

South Africa, to their credit, continued to battle, but as news filtered through that Iraq were being held by New Zealand, it was clear that they, too, qualified for the next stage, most likely to face Brazil.

Spain, meanwhile, will most probably meet Egypt or Italy as they look to keep this record-equalling 15-game winning streak on the boil.

Ewan Macdonald,