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Mabbsy in SA

Posted on 23 June 2010  - 12:00

Gary Mabbutt insists the party will continue in South Africa even with the hosts knocked out of the World Cup on Tuesday.

Gary Mabbutt insists the party will continue in South Africa even with the hosts knocked out of the World Cup on Tuesday.

South Africa agonisingly missed out on goal difference to Mexico in a thrilling finish to Group A.

Bafana Bafana's hopes of making it into the knockout stages looked bleak going into the final round of matches but Uruguay did the hosts a huge favour by beating Mexico 1-0 in Rustenburg.

That meant South Africa had to better Mexico's goal difference by beating France by a hatful in Bloemfontein - and it looked on when Yohan Gourcuff was sent off and they went into a 2-0 lead just before the break.

However, Florent Malouda pulled a goal back and South Africa couldn't score again, leaving them on four points but with a minus-one goal difference compared to Mexico's plus-one.

"The atmosphere in the country has been great," said our legendary former skipper Gary, who is there for the duration of the tournament in his role as World CVp ambassador.

"Of course there will be a lull, that's bound to happen when your team gets knocked out of any tournament but, for instance, when South Africa lost to Uruguay, the next day everyone was up for it and bubbly again.

"People are flying their flags here but it's not just for Bafana Bafana, it's for South Africa and for the fact that their country is delivering a World Cup that is reaching and even surpassing all expectations.

"There were hopes that they might just reach the next stage and that goes for all African nations.

"Ghana have the best chance and everyone here is hopeful that will happen because it would be such a boost for a World Cup on the African continent."

So who has caught Mabbsy's eye so far?

"Argentina, Brazil, Portugal suddenly came to the party against North Korea and on the quiet, I've been impressed with Paraguay. They are top of Group F at the moment and it will be interesting to see what happens on Thursday with Italy in that group as well.

"As I said before, I'm convinced England will go through and if the team clicks, I'm sure we can go a long way in the tournament."

Gary has been a World Cup ambassador for South Africa since 2002...