Pienaar out to replicate club form for country

JOHANNESBURG - Key midfielder Steven Pienaar intends to take his club form with Everton, which has won him widespread plaudits in recent months, into the World Cup with hosts South Africa.

Pienaar was the last of South Africa's players to join up with the squad preparing in Johannesburg for the tournament, given a week's extra holiday by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira after his exertions in the English Premier League this season.

"As an individual I have always believed in myself, and I hope in the national team I will carry on the way I finished the season at my club," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

Pienaar expressed confidence in the home team's ability to get past the first round, even though they are not expected to make a major impact.

"I rate our chances of doing well in the tournament very high, in fact I am very confident that we will go further than the second round. We are definitely ready to go because the confidence is there, the spirit is there and I believe we will do well.

"The team has been doing well and I have been following their progress since they started with the training camps (in March)," he added.

South Africa contest Group A with France, Uruguay and Mexico.

Pienaar said he hoped for a run out against Colombia in Thursday's friendly at Soccer City despite Parreira suggesting earlier he would only make minimal changes to the line-up that drew 1-1 with Bulgaria in Johannesburg on Monday.

Pienaar last played for his country in a friendly in Ireland last September.

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