words_Nick Engvall

The sounds of vuvuzelas might have hit there highest volume today as the host country of South Africa took the field looking to grab a hold of the slim chance of making it to the next round that was stringing them along. Coming in to the 2010 World Cup, no host team had ever failed to make it out of the first round, but if the possibility was anywhere in the minds of the South African players as they entered the field, nobody watching could tell.

South Africa came out with heads held high to the sounds of vuvuzelas singing hopefully and celebratory, despite the likelihood of this being the last match for the team known affectionately as Bafana Bafana, or in English, The Boys. With the heightened excitement, a sea of yellow and green filled the stadium, the team’s colors, showing support from the fans of this year’s host nation.

Siphiwe Tshabalala got the scoring started for this year’s World Cup in South Africa’s first game against Mexico, and was at the root of the scoring today as well. Tshabalala placed one perfectly from the corner across the box where it was headed into the back of the net by Bongani Khumalo, who had risen above the rest of the players crowded in the French goal keeper’s area. With that the crowd excitedly erupted into deafening decibel levels that prove the passion that exists in South Africa.

As quickly as they had scored to start the match, South Africa doubled up with a second goal at the 37 minute mark. This time it was Katlego Mphela who received the cheers and chants from the crowd for putting another goal on the scoreboard for Bafana Bafana.

France would later add a goal by Florent Malouda in the second half to make it 2-1, but today was South Africa’s day to emerge victorious.

Although South Africa played an incredible match, by far their best of the tournament, the victory won’t be enough for them to reach the second round. The win in today’s match is bittersweet, as the host nation does in fact become the first host team to fail to reach the second round, but the vuvuzelas will surely continue to sing in celebration for today’s victory and what it means to the host country.

Steven Pienaar in the adidas F50 adiZero.

Bongani Khumalo celebrates in the Nike CTR 360.

Katlego Mphela scores in the Nike Superfly.

Siphiwe Tshabalala in the Nike CTR 360 battles with Bakary Sagna wearing the PUMA Power Cat 1.10 FG.

Florent Malouda in the Nike CTR 360 after scoring against Tsepo Masilela in the adidas adiPure III.