The South Africa national football team in its current incarnation formed in 1992. Previously, due to apartheid, there had been teams separated by race. Earlier teams had a troubled relationship with FIFA, having been suspended and then expelled from their competitions. The mixed-race team joined FIFA and the Confederation of African Football in 1992.
After reformation, South Africa’s first game was a 1-0 win over African heavyweights Cameroon. The team went on to great success in its early years, winning the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations and reaching the final in 1998.
World cup 1998
South Africa qualified for their first world cup in 1998. In the first round, the team faced Denmark, hosts France, and Saudi Arabia in the first round. The tournament began poorly with a 3-0 defeat to France. After this, South Africa drew with both Denmark and Saudi Arabia. Two points left the team third in the group, a few point shy of progression. The South Africa national football team had a solid world cup début, scoring goals and gaining points.
World cup 2002
World cup 2002 saw South African again qualify for the finals. This time the team faced Paraguay, Slovenia and Spain in the first round. The opening game, against Paraguay, was a 1-1 draw but the second, against Slovenia, brought South Africa’s first world cup victory. A 3-2 defeat to Spain in the final group game saw the team again finish third, this time only on goals scored after tying with Paraguay. South Africa showed good progression in 2002, making their mark as a finals regular.
World cup 2010
South Africa hosted world cup 2010, meaning they qualified automatically for the finals. The team was hoping home advantage would spur their best result yet. South Africa faced France, Mexico and Uruguay in the first round group stage. As in 2002, the team drew their opening match 1-1. South Africa then lost to Uruguay 3-0 but defeated France 2-1. Once again the team finished third in the group, this time on goal difference. The 2010 world cup was still a good tournament for South Africa; though they were disappointed as hosts to go out early, their group was unusually tough.
Ranked 65th by FIFA, the South Africa national football team has work to do just to keep their place.
World cup 2018
Fixtures to be announced.
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