South Africa need a miracle against Uruguay

South Africa need a miracle against Uruguay
epa05985871 Giuseppe Scalera (R) of Italy vies for the ball with Malebogo Modise (L) of South Africa during the group stage match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017 between South Africa and Italy in Suwon, South Korea, 24 May 2017. EPA/KIM HEE-CHUL

by Graeme Jackson

Friday May 26, 2017. 12:30

South Africa will wrap up their Group D campaign at the U-20 World Cup when they face Uruguay at the Incheon Football Stadium on Saturday, kick-off at 13h00 CAT.

Amajita come into the game having suffered back-to-back defeats to Japan and Italy in their first two matches and their hopes of reaching the knockout round hang by a thread.

Thabo Senong’s side cannot finish in the top two of the group and secure direct qualification, but they have a slim hope that a convincing win over Uruguay will see them edge into one of the four best third-place finishers.

Yet given their showings in the tournament so far, it seems unlikely that SA will have the means to overcome a Uruguay side which has overpowered both Italy and Japan without even conceding a goal.

The South Americans may well rest some key players, as they have already secured qualification for the round of 16, but there’s no reason to suggest Fabian Coito’s impressive side will slack off with first place in the group still on the line.

SA coach Thabo Senong has admitted that their fate is out of their own hands and they need a big slice of luck if they are to advance from the group.

“Our focus now is on our next game against Uruguay. Even if we win that match, we still have to rely on what will happen in the other groups in terms of us going through. We just need to give it our all in the last game and hopefully luck will be on our side,” said the Amajita boss.

The other Group D match between Japan and Italy will be played simultaneously in Cheonan, while the SA-Uruguay clash will be refereed by Russian Sergei Karasev.

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