In a match that on paper was expected to be extremely one sided, only a piece of magic from Barcelona full back Daniel Alves was the difference between Brazil‘s team of superstars and host nation South Africa.
Following a resilient performance from the hosts, Alves stepped up to take a free kick in the 88th minute and promptly curled it majestically round the wall into the far right hand corner. The outcome was far from what the South Africans had deserved after a gritty performance which saw them unsettle the Brazilians normal flowing passing and movement.
The result ensures that Brazil will meet the USA in the final where the Americans will have to put in a better performance than they did against Brazil in the group stages if they genuinely wish to lift the Confederations Cup.
After Brazil had comfortably swept aside World Champions Italy with ease in their previous match, few expected a South African team short on goals to provide any problems. However, what the Bafana Bafana lacked in firepower, they made up for in organisation and discipline as Brazil cut a frustrated figure for much of the evening.
The first half began with Brazil struggling to build any momentum towards Khune’s goal. In particular, Matthew Booth was his usual no nonsense self ensuring that any of Brazil’s lightweight stars who spent too long on the ball would live to regret it. It was South Africa who had the first good chance of the half as Aaron Mokoena rose free at the back post from a free kick but headed the glorious opportunity over the crossbar.
Many would have expected this to kick Brazil into life but they remained strangely below par for the rest of the half. The hosts nearly took the lead towards the end of the first period as a stinging drive from Steven Pienaar saw Julio Cesar just get his fingertips to the ball to take it wide of the goal.
The second half progressed much in the same manner as the first with both teams cancelling each other out. Brazil’s skilful and exciting players were struggling to move the ball with the same precision as when they demolished Italy in the final group game whilst South Africa seemingly lacked that piece of quality to open the Brazilian back line with aimless long shots and no end product.
A lack of quality saw neither goalkeeper seriously tested and the game looked destined for extra time. Nevertheless, in the 88th minute, Blackburn’s Aaron Mokoena committed a foul on the edge of the penalty area. Substitute Daniel Alves stepped up and produced his piece of brilliance to break South African hearts and silence the Vuvuzelas for the time being.