Is it possible for them to make it out of the first round with France and Mexico in their way?
Just realized how this question area works...
At first glance South Africa has a very narrow chance. I know some people argue that host countries have a boost from the local fans, but I don't think it'll be enough for them. Their track record the last year hasn't been so good and I've seen very little of their game, and have honestly seen more from France, Uruguay and Mexico. They are very tough teams for SA, but we should remember that France had a horrible upset in 2002, when it didn't make it past the first round because they depended too much on Zidane, who was injured and barely played 1 game out of the 3. This time, France doesn't really depend on one player so much. They are a tough team that can regulate the rhythm of the game by playing keepaway and putting a lot of people on the attack.
Mexico has improved a lot under Aguirre, despite the criticism he endured and his European friendly tour being a mixed bag (highlights are the losses against Netherlands and England who they had a solid first half against, and rightfully beating Italy). They have a serious coach and a good looking team on paper. Uruguay is a strong team and knows how to turn up the pressure and doesn't mind a little rough play. They were last among the qualified teams and had to battle it out with Costa Rica. But they have great strikers (Forlan and Abreu) and will surely be a headache for every team they face.
This argument is not even halfway because of the order in which SA faces the other teams in the group. They face Mexico first, then Uruguay and France. If they can beat Mexico, they will put a lot of pressure on Mexico to give France their best. This could really take a toll on France by the time South Africa comes around and if they can tie against Uruguay, they'll probably make it through. Thus they depend on that first opening game. If they lose or tie against Mexico, I really don't see them making it past the group stages and will have to go sit in a corner while the rest of the tournament slips past them. I don't think they'll be super sad, considering the tough group they faced and the impact hosting the World Cup will have on their economy and their own team's exposure. There's no downside really for SA. They may not be champions, but they'll take a giant leap for the coming world cups.
If only Geremi was still playing...
Hope this helps.
After that win over France, I am pretty stoked to see how RSA soccer improves for 2014 in Brazil!
They definitely have heart
Ya, I really hope to see African teams improve in general. They always show a lot of promise.
There was an article mentioning that European teams are always looking for strong Defensive Mid-Fielders in Africa, thus most young players tend to gravitate to those roles to get a nice European ride. Who knows...