South Africa vs Iraq

In FIFA Confederation Cup, Football on June 12, 2009 at 13:51

By Joe,

Teko Modise South African Team

First game in the Fifa Confederation Cup gets underway in South Africa on the 14th of June in Johannesburg between the host nation and Iraq. This game will be played in the stadium, Ellis Park or Coca-Cola, in Johannesburg where it holds just under 60,000 people. The stadium has also undergone a minor upgrade for the host nation to play their first game in the Confederation Cup. Both South Africa and Iraq will be debuting in their first ever Confederation Cup game and the pressure will certainly be on the host nation to win.

As the host nation, South Africa qualified automatically for this tournament and is the second African side in this competition. South Africa is led by the Brazilian coach Joel Santana who likes to experiment with the team’s formation. The run up to the game opener on Sunday has been positive for the Bafana Bafana. They have managed to beat Ghana and Cameroon back to back. Their most recent result in a friendly against Poland has also been a good one where they won 1-0. Santana will be hoping to have star player maker Teko Modise back from a leg muscle injury and Everton’s Steven Pienaar from overcoming his ankle injury he sustained against Poland. Other players to watch are Macbeth Sibaya and Elrio Van Heerden.

Iraq, AFC Asian Cup 2007 winner, are led by Serbian Coach Bora Milutinovic. Iraq entered this tournament by winning their first continental title after beating Saudi Arabia in the Asian Cup 2007. Coach Bora Milutinovic has found success with previous nations he managed guiding them to the World Cup group stages. He hopes to emulate this success with Iraq and to show that Asian Champions aren’t in South Africa to play as second fiddles. Most of the Iraq squad members played in their domestic league and certainly would have any household names to contend with. As preparation for the encounter against South Africa on Sunday, Iraq played a friendly match against Poland this week where they draw 1-1 with M. K Ajeel getting on the score sheets.

The host nation is pressured to win their opening game. They will have to bring out their offensive attacking football with slick passing exchanges in the midfield. The worrying part would be their defending which Iraq will try to exploit. South Africa will most likely put on a good show as that will set the agenda for their expectations or scene for the other Confederation Cup games to come and the World Cup next year. Iraq could sneak a win here if South Africa are caught unguarded and Ladbrokes is offering 4.50 to win.

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