Preview: Brazil poised to maintain good form
The Seleção have been in terrific form recently having won all of their last six friendly matches and will be hoping to keep their streak going with a win over Bafana Bafana. Luiz Felipe Scolari's men have not played a competitive match since defeating reigning World champions Spain in the Confederations Cup Final, owing to the fact that they are hosting this year’s tournament.
However their next three friendlies including the ones against Panama and Serbia which follow their trip to South Africa will potentially prepare them for the test they are to face at this year’s illustrious event.
Preview: South Africa's final match in 2013 will be a tough test
Spain will return to Johannesburg, where they lifted the World Cup trophy in 2010. This time the match will not be as important, but Vicente del Bosque's side will want to come away with another victory.
Both countries will be taking part in their final match in 2013, and neither will want to end things on a negative note.
For the current World Champions, they have continued their dominance in world football, as they claimed the top spot in their World Cup Qualification group. In a group that included France, La Roja were able to take first place, giving them yet another presence in a World Cup.
Preview: Will Pellegrini's City spoil the South Africans' party?
The Citizens lacked consistency throughout the 2012/13 season and eventually finished without silverware. Following the controversial sacking of ex-manager Roberto Mancini, pressure is high on new coach Manuel Pellegrini to create a positive impact with immediate effect.
The Spanish-speaking man, who will take Man City to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Thursday evening, can forget about his team's first pre-season friendly in South Africa which ended in a 2-0 loss to SuperSport United.
Whereas Pellegrini will want to bounce back from is bad start under his new employers, the hosts are expected play their hearts out with the aim of condemning the Citizens to their second consecutive defeat.
In fact, July 18 marks a big occasion for South Africans who are celebrating the 95th anniversary of their redeemer, affectionately known as Madiba. AmaZulu will be fired up to emulate SuperSport United’s feat against the Manchester-based giants.
Where to watch the match live – Live stream, start time, TV channels
Watch AmaZulu vs Manchester City live:
British Eurosport will broadcast LIVE high definition coverage of all 32 games from the 19th January – 10th February.
Ivory Coast will boast a star-studded line-up and will again be among the favourites for the title. Among them include their all-time top scorer Didier Drogba now of Shanghai Shenhua. Joining him up-front will be Arsenal’s Gervinho, as well as Wigan’s Arouna Kone. In the heart of the midfield will be Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Newcastle United’s Cheick Tiote.
Ghana are likely to be one of the other stand-out performers, as they also possess players such as Al Ain forward Asamoah Gyan and Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah. Bristol City’s Albert Adomah will also be making his first appearance at the tournament.
After over a decade of preparations, Cape Verde’s national football team has reached its goal: to qualify for a major tournament. They daunted a divided Cameroonian side in the playoffs to get to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals. Whether the Blue Sharks will cross more rivers in South Africa is a question which will be answered later in January.
Interestingly, the competition will open with Cape Verde facing hosts South Africa. If the former put their underdog spirit at work and claim victory on the opening day, they will instantly install fear among other participants.
However, the Creoles have nothing to lose. They are making their debut among group contenders who have all hosted the Nations Cup at least once in history.
A couple of years after lifting the FIFA World Cup trophy in South Africa, Spain find themselves on the brink of commencing the winning process all over again. Spain’s World Cup qualifying campaign does not kick off on Friday.
La Furia Roja will entertain Saudi Arabia in an international friendly match while several qualifiers will take place across Europe. Vicente del Bosque will be hoping to witness a good rhythm within his squad.
For live coverage of Spain vs Saudi Arabia, count on ESPN3 in the United States, TVE La Primera in Spain, SuperSport 4 in Africa and Sport TV3 in Portugal. If you live in Australia, tune in to ESPN Australia or ESPN3 Australia. Check the latter in New Zealand or watch the match on ESPN Pacific Rim.
Coach Harouna Doula Gabde and his men, nicknamed the Menas, have been tipped to rock the stage at the 2012 AFCON with their spirit of underdogs. Let’s see how good the 97th ranked nation could turn out to perform at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
Niger – no Cup of Nations experience
Niger’s current generation of national team players is privileged. With hard work, the Menas have managed to make a blur dream come to life. When the draw for the 2012 AFCON qualifiers was revealed, no one really thought about Niger as potential finalists.
Pundits based their analysis around South Africa and Egypt’s chances in Group G as Sierra Leone and Niger were tipped to fail. However, the Menas proved everyone wrong. Despite commencing the campaign with a 2-0 loss in the hands of Bafana Bafana, Niger found themselves with 3 points in the bag at the end of Matchday 2. They stunned reigning African champions Egypt 1-0 to achieve this feat.
This nation ranks first in alphabetical order above the rest of the competition participants. This fact explains why our team profile coverage opens with Angola.
Angola’s nickname is “Palancas Negras” which means “Black Antelopes” in Portuguese. The 2006 World Cup participants, who operate under the control of the Federação Angolana de Futebol, are currently 83rd in the FIFA Rankings. Lito Vidigal presently serves as the country’s national team coach as defender Kali continues to assume the role of captain.
Angola's history - slowly progressing from minnows to giants
In Africa, the Palancas Negras are regarded as potentially dangerous opponents although much is left to do for them to side amongst the continent’s giants. Angola’s Nations Cup history is pretty recent.
In an interview ahead of his team’s flight to Cape Town, USA boss Bob Bradley revealed his view of the South Africa friendly which is meant to honor the Nelson Mandela Challenge. The coach was quoted as saying on USSoccer.com:
“This game is a good opportunity to look at some different players and assess their place in the pool as we continue to build for the next cycle.
“With our immediate focus on the Gold Cup next summer, this game, in many ways, is just as much the start of 2011 as it’s the end of a great year.”
The future of Ghana’s national football team is shaping itself differently with Chelsea’s Michael Essien and Inter Milan’s Sulley Muntari appearing more than irregularly for the Black Stars.
In Michael Essien’s case, where it’s been half a year since the ‘bull’ played for his country, injury worries are believed to have been the cause of his national team exclusion. The fragile Chelsea midfielder sustained a knee injury (ironically following a tackle by his Blues teammate Didier Drogba) during Ghana’s 2010 Africa Cup of Nations opener against Cote d’Ivoire earlier in January.
Doctors confirmed that Essien had to miss the remainder of the tournament where the Black Stars still went all the way to the reach the final. Since then, Michael Essien has been left on the sidelines. The player only just returned to action with Chelsea in mid-July and Ghana’s Milovan Rajevac has no intentions of risking him in Wednesday’s friendly match against South Africa.
The South Africa vs Ghana encounter will mark exactly a month since Spain and the Netherlands battled it out for the trophy in the World Cup final at the same venue. The Soccer City Stadium is a temple where African contingents failed to record a single victory during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. For Ghana’s national football team and supporters as well as for a multitude of football followers around the world, the Soccer City Stadium will forever be remembered best for what happened on July 2 earlier this summer.
That was when it hosted the dramatic quarter-final fixture between Ghana and Uruguay where Luis Suarez’s handball, Asamoah Gyan’s last-second penalty miss, and La Celeste Olimpica’s triumph in the eventual penalty shoot-out cruelly killed Ghana’s dream of breaking Africa’s World Cup quarter-final curse in the history of the sport. On Wednesday, the Black Stars of Ghana (who earned even more respect following their remarkable 2010 World Cup campaign) will want to get back on track as they look forward to a bright future.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup’s Third Place will consist of tones of relevant history; and now is the time to look at some of its main parts. Certainly, this couldn’t have been done in a better other than knowing the basic information on both teams, and to start, Live Soccer TV recalls how both Uruguay and Germany reached the semi-finals. Perhaps, as a reader, you might feel that recent analyses published on the site are more informative in Germany’s way; for that reason, this article is mainly dedicated to Uruguay’s campaign.
Uruguay – How they landed in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Third Place with Germany
Group A: Uruguay 0-0 France
Uruguay were placed in South Africa’s royal Group A along with France and Mexico; but with the hosts and Les Bleus earlier on regarded as the hot favorites to qualify for the Round of 16, the South American were forced to make extra efforts to conquer the mentality of their opponents and rule their table. It didn’t start in the best of ways though, as they drew their first match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup 0-0 with France. An unimpressive Diego Forlan was incapable of leading his side to triumph over France, and with the first red card of the World Cup being shown to one of his team mates, all that a 10-men Uruguayan side could go for, was holding on to a draw.
France vs South Africa, First Half: Bafana Bafana Destroy Les Bleus
Captained by Alou Diarra since the self-exclusion of Patrice Evra, the French were out to play for pride even if their chances of reaching the Round of 16 remained very slim. Andre-Pierre Gignac had a glorious opportunity to break France’s goalless curse in South Africa when he was sent through on goal from the left side of the penalty area. The player cruised into the box but only fired a weak shot which didn’t trouble South Africa’s goalkeeper.
You could feel France’s intention to really get something out of this game with Djibril Cissé coming close to scoring through a header. South Africa struggled to take hold of the game until after a quarter of an hour when Steven Pienaar came out from the shadows of his body pains to inject some attacking flair into the game.
GROUP A match France vs South Africa kicks off at 10:00 AM EST / 4:00 PM Local. All Group A matches are played at the same time, to avoid any funny / sympathetic performances that may affect the standings.
ESPN 2 (HD), ESPN3.com… South Africa’s Bafana Bafana Should Make Their Nation Proud Siphiwe Tshabalala offered a bright start to Bafana’s 2010 World Cup campaign by scoring the tournament’s first goal on the opening day. But Mexico’s Rafael Marquez and Diego Forlan’s Uruguay quickly painted anxiety and frustration on the faces of South Africans. Bafana Bafana’s hopes, after drawing their first game and emphatically losing their other one by three goals to nil, are hanging from a thread. Like the French, they must not only hope that Mexico and Uruguay don’t play out a draw, but also win big on Tuesday afternoon. SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani is optimistic about the country’s fate at the 2010 World Cup and thinks that the home fans will play a pivotal role against France. He told the press:
South Africa’s Bafana Bafana Should Make Their Nation Proud
Siphiwe Tshabalala offered a bright start to Bafana’s 2010 World Cup campaign by scoring the tournament’s first goal on the opening day. But Mexico’s Rafael Marquez and Diego Forlan’s Uruguay quickly painted anxiety and frustration on the faces of South Africans. Bafana Bafana’s hopes, after drawing their first game and emphatically losing their other one by three goals to nil, are hanging from a thread. Like the French, they must not only hope that Mexico and Uruguay don’t play out a draw, but also win big on Tuesday afternoon.
SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani is optimistic about the country’s fate at the 2010 World Cup and thinks that the home fans will play a pivotal role against France. He told the press: