Late Brazil Goal Breaks Bafana Bafana Hearts In Confeds Cup

Brazil progress to the final where they will meet giant-killers USA, as a Daniel Alves set-piece defeated host nation South Africa.
Brazil 1-0 South Africa
Confederations Cup fixtures, results

South Africa have sprung some surprise results in the past when they recorded draws against far weightier opposition in the guise of Argentina, and also France, over a decade ago. However, earlier this evening they were once again pipped as the underdogs as they faced the greatest nation in World Cup history, and indeed the joint most successful in Confederations Cup lore; Brazil. 

There could be little tension found emanating from the Bafana Bafana stars prior to kick-off as, as had been customary during the pregame build-ups, the South Africans could be found chanting, singing, and banging the walls as they made a rhythmical stroll along their way to the dressing rooms. Their vocal pride and excitement was a fitting reflection of the constant buzz that the local supporters' blows on the vuvuzela produced whenever plays gathered motion when the tournament's second semi-final commenced.

In an attempt to combat Brazil's potency going forward, South Africa coach, Joel Santana, deployed both Benson Mhlongo and Kagisho Dikgacoi deep in midfield, with both players asked to track runners and keep former Player of the Year, Kaka, contained.

South Africa battled and Brazil were held goal-less for longer than could have been initially imagined. Dunga's Selecao, though, tested their defense with forward runs from Manchester City target Maicon, and driven shots from Kaka, but the host nation's center back pairing of captain Aaron Mokoena, and cult hero Matthew Booth, stood strong with a series of astute tackles and fine interceptions.

Steven Pienaar in particular shone as he put his body on the line to get down to a powerful Brazilian set-piece, and his eagerness to put in a performance from deep was not lost in attack, as he pressed for possession, carried the ball well, and tested Canarinho goal-guardian Julio Cesar from distance.

For all of Pienaar's prowess for Bafana, Kaka too put in a strong display during the opening half. He slowly grew into the game with short bursts from midfield and a series of shots on goal. His first, though, was placed the wrong side of Itumuleng Khune's bar. Another was confidently met by the Kaizer Chief goalkeeper's hands after he counter-attacked quickly, while his ability to playmake was, as the second half got underway, foiled by the South Africa rear-guard.

At the other end, just before the hour mark, Cesar saved tremendously well to deny The Boys an upset as the Internazionale shot-stopper athletically saved a violently-deflected Teko Modise strike.

Despite the deadlock, Dunga appeared confident that his wide-array of difference-makers; players suck as the trick-filled Robinho, Sevilla striker Luis Fabiano, and Real Madrid's new attacker Kaka, could eventually make something happen, as he did not make a change until the final ten minutes.

Prior to the switch, Brazil were stifled repetitively by some dogged defending. Robinho found himself hounded off of the ball after Mhlongo made crucial blocks - including one from a drive shot from substitute Daniel Alves; it was the Barcelona full back's first touch.

Alves was to prove the difference maker, as he broke Bafana hearts by sending the Brazilians into the final with a sweetly-struck free-kick that beat Khune and curled into the net. The dream of a shock result for the South Africans was over, with just four minutes left on the clock.


Brazil - Julio Cesar, Lucio, Maicon, Felipe Melo, Gilberto Silva, Fabiano, Kaka, Robinho, Luisao, Andre Santos, Ramires.

Subs - Kleber, Alves.

South Africa - Khune, Gaxa, Masilela, Booth, Mokoena, Pienaar, Dikgacoi, Modise, Mhlongo, Tshabalala, Parker.

Subs - Mphela.

Goal-scorers - Alves (87).

Alan Dawson,

For more on the Confederations Cup visit's Confederations Cup page.