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South Africa fans proud despite Bafana's exit
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 22 - 06 - 2010

JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa fans are celebrating their team's World Cup victory over France with pride, even though their team has been knocked out of the tournament earlier than any previous host.
Across South Africa, multiracial crowds Tuesday packed into fan parks to follow the must-win match.
Many were brandishing South African flags and tooting on vuvuzelas --the noisy plastic horns that have become a World Cup phenomenon.
But South Africa needed an even bigger win than the 2-1 victory it mustered and became the first host nation eliminated from the first round.
"South Africa made the country proud by beating 10-man France in their final game, said Carlos Alberto Parreira," coach of the World Cup hosts.
The 2-1 win was South Africa's first of the tournament but was not enough to stop them becoming the first ever host nation to go out in the group stages.
"I am proud of the boys. They made this country proud," said Parreira.
Uruguay beat Mexico 1-0 to finish top of Group A, meaning the Mexicans qualify in second on goal difference.
South Africa did their utmost against a dispirited French side to seal a place in the last 16, but it was not to be as they finished level on four points with Mexico but three goals worse off than El Tri.

Turmoil has engulfed the French camp this week but despite Les Bleus' off-field problems, Parreira said the hosts' victory over the 2006 finalists was a clear sign of Bafana Bafana's improvement.
"They proved that they have made progress," added Parreira.
There was an unsavoury end to proceedings when French coach Raymond Domenech refused to shake hands with Parreira at full-time, leading to an exchange of words between the two.
"I believe it was because I had criticised his team after they qualified [when they controversially beat Ireland in the play-offs to make the finals], but I really don't remember," explained Parreira. "This is what his assistants told me."
Parreira, who returned for a second spell as South Africa coach in October 2009, having previously being in charge between 2007 and 2008, will now step down from his role with the team as planned for family reasons.
"I feel at home here. In my heart deeply I will always remember this country," he added. "These boys, what they did for me in preparation they were unbelievable.
"I just want to say thank you to these people."

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