Spain staves off South African challenge

Raul Gonzalez scored twice to give Spain a 3-2 victory over South Africa and securing his side the first place in Group B.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
  • Total Shares

Daejeon, South Korea:

Raul Gonzalez scored twice to give Spain a 3-2 victory over South Africa, securing his side first place in Group B and eliminating the Africans from the tournament. Benni McCarthy and Lucas Radebe scored for South Africa, but two goals weren't enough for the Bafana Bafana to qualify as Paraguay beat Slovenia 3-1 in the other Group B match and beat out the Africans on goal difference. That result meant both South Africa and Paraguay ended the group with four points from three games and as many goals scored as conceded. However the South Americans take second place because they scored six goals to the Africans' five. Spain finished Group B with three victories, the only side so far to have secured nine points from its opening three matches. Slovenia finished bottom of the group with no points. The Spanish will now meet Group E runner-up Ireland in Suwon on Sunday. Paraguay will play Group E winner Germany in Seogwipo on Saturday. Spain's winner came in the 56th minute from Raul, who headed home from eight-meters (yards) after a good run and cross by Joaquin. It was his third goal of the tournament. Raul opened the scoring in the fourth minute when South Africa 'keeper Andre Arendse came to collect a harmless through-pass but let the ball slip under his body and the Spanish striker was on hand to steal the ball away and strike it into an empty net. South Africa deservedly pulled level in the 31st minute when a cross from the right was headed down by Siyabonga Nomvethe and Benni McCarthy got to the ball ahead of the Spain 'keeper Iker Casillas and hooked it home from close range. But Spain regained its lead when Mendieta curled an injury time free-kick over the wall and into the right corner from 25-meters (yards) to hand the Spanish team the lead for the second time in the match. Lucas Radebe's 53rd minute header tied the game at 2-2, but after Raul had struck his second of the evening, Spain held on. In an entertaining game at the Daejeon World Cup stadium, both sides created plenty of chances. Mendieta saw another shot cleared off the line early on, while Fernando Morientes' header in the 31st minute was superbly saved by Arendse. South Africa also went close through MacBeth Sibaya. In the second half, Spain had a host of chances to extend its lead with Luis Enrique, Ivan Helguera and Albert Luque - all shot wide. Lineups:South Africa: 16-Andre Arendse (GK); 2-Cyril Nzama, 19-Lucas Radebe (C), 3-Bradley Carnell, 4-Aaron Mokoena, 6-MacBeth Sibaya, 7-Quinton Fortune, 12-Teboho Mokoena, 15-Sibusiso Zuma, 14-Siyabonga Nomvethe, 17-Benni McCarthy Spain: 1-Iker Casillas (GK), 2-Curro Torres, 4-Ivan Helguera, 20-Miguel Angel Nadal (C), 15-Enrique Romero, 16-Gaizka Mendieta; 14-David Abelda, 19-Xavi Hernandez, 22-Joaquin Sanchez, 7-Raul Gonzalez, 9- Fernando Morientes Referee: Saad Mane (Kuwait)