Bongani Khumalo and Katlego Mphela scored first-half goals to lead South Africa to a 2-1 win over a France team in turmoil Tuesday in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Despite the win, Bafana Bafana became the first host nation to be eliminated in the group stage.
France, the 2006 runner-up, has been a mess ever since sports daily L’Equipe printed details of striker Nicolas Anelka’s expletive-filled rant at coach Raymond Domenech during halftime of Thursday’s 2-0 loss to Mexico.
The French soccer federation sent Anelka home Saturday and the players protested by refusing to practice the following day.
Domenech took captain Patrice Evra and five others out of the lineup in the wake of the protest. After finishing 0-1-2, Evra apologized to fans and promised a full explanation in the days to come.
“The first word that comes to mind is sadness,” Domenech said. “Sadness for all the supporters and sadness for the players.”
Not even a dressing down by French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot could inspire Les Bleus.
Uruguay 1, Mexico 0: Uruguay won Group A and Mexico also advanced as Luis Suarez scored in Rustenburg, South Africa.
Suarez, Uruguay’s most dangerous striker all day, ran unguarded to the back post and headed in Edinson Cavani’s brilliant cross for his first goal of the tournament.
The two countries went into the last group game sharing the lead at four points and needed only a draw to advance. Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said he was “bothered” by talk that the two teams might play for a draw.
“It’s an insult to the coaches and players. Both teams came out looking for something,” Tabarez said.
Mexico earned four points, but had a better goal differential than South Africa (plus-1 to minus-2).
South Korea 2, Nigeria 2: South Korea reached the second round from Group B as Lee Jung-soo and Park Chu-young scored in Durban.
South Korea reached the World Cup knockout stage away from home for the first time. The only other time South Korea got beyond the group stage was when the team surged to the semifinals in 2002 on home soil as tournament co-host with Japan.
“Our goal was to reach the last 16. We succeeded in doing this for the first time away from home,” South Korea captain Park Ji-sung said.
Argentina 2, Greece 0: Martin Demichelis and Martin Palermo scored second-half goals in Polokwane to help Argentina win Group B.
Argentina will play Mexico on Sunday in Johannesburg. Greece was eliminated.
Two-time La Liga player of the year Lionel Messi was given the captain’s armband for the first time, making him the youngest Argentina captain at 22.