Mokoena: South Africa must forget horror show

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa will have to wipe out the memory of a performance which left Bafana Bafana and an entire nation completely deflated if they are to avoid making unwelcome World Cup history, according to the captain.

No host nation has ever fallen at the first hurdle in the tournament since it began in 1930 but South Africa's crashing 3-0 defeat to Uruguay in Pretoria on Wednesday leaves them very likely to set that unwanted precedent.

Only a major upset win against 1998 winners and 2006 runners-up France -- plus other favourable results - in Tuesday's final group match in Bloemfontein can save South Africa from an ignominious group stage exit.

"We're in a bad position to have to now rely on other teams. We didn't want this," skipper Aaron Mokoena told Reuters as South Africa digested their defeat.

"It's not important now to sit and reflect on who did what, what went wrong, referee's mistakes. It is much more important we move on and forget about what happen," said Mokoena.

"It's going be hard to get the belief back. But people are behind us. We have to make sure we get that confidence back if we are to have any chance against France, who are absolutely a top class and experienced side," he added.

Inside a week of a World Cup for which they spent six years preparing, the home team have conspired to severely deflate the bubble of excitement that has swept through South Africa.

It has seemed mainly psychological for their largely inexperienced team with the players freezing with nerves in their first match against Mexico but managing to overcome it.

But after conceding a 24th minute goal to Uruguay, they never looked capable of producing a fightback.

It would seem implausible now that they can bounce back after apparently crumbling under the weight of expectation.

The thumping by an impressive, well organised Uruguay side, superbly marshalled by Diego Forlan who scored twice, followed a 1-1 draw with Mexico in that far brighter Bafana Bafana performance in the tournament opener on Friday.

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