Spain made it three wins out of three as they advanced to the next round of the tournament against South Africa. Already qualified, Camacho's side needed a point at least to take top spot in the group and set up a last sixteen tie with Eire rather than the more dangerous Germans, and reports from the training camp suggested that the manager would only make three or four changes to make sure of a result. In the end though only three players, Casillas, Nadal and Raúl, kept their place from the starting line up in the last match as Camacho decided that a rest for his stars was more important than securing the point he needed. Not that the replacements let him down though, as they comfortably controlled the game to take the lead three times and eventually dump their opponents out of the competition.
The first goal came early on, the usually reliable Arendse failing to hold on to Mendieta's through ball, allowing Raúl to steal it out of his hands to roll it into the net. Mendieta went close with a low shot and Morientes connected with Joaquín's cross only to see Arendse pull off a one-handed save as Spain pushed for a second goal. But it was the Africans who got the next goal, Celta reject Benni McCarthy adding a few million to his price tag turning the ball past Casillas after Nomvethe headed on. It looked as if the teams were going to go in all square at the break, but Mendieta had other ideas, bending a free kick round the wall and in to the corner of the net on the stroke of half time.
Camacho took off Albelda to give an outing to Sergio, but before he had time to take his position Radebe equalised once again for the Bafana Bafana, heading down into the bottom corner after Romero could only head back a corner kick. Their joy only lasted a minute or so though before the excellent Joaquín cut in from the right to lay the ball on for Raúl to steer a header past Arendse, his third of the competition to date. Camacho brought on Luque for his international debut and then Luis Enrique, and both almost added to the scoreline with efforts from close range. South Africa were not too bothered as news from the other group match meant that they would end the day in second place, enough to see them through.
But then with the game reaching the finish they heard that Paraguay had gone further ahead and that they were out on goal difference. It was too late to react though, and soon afterwards the final whistle went and they were going home. Spain march through confidently, and Camacho may have some problems now deciding whether to bring back his favourites or give another run out to the substitutes. Two or three World cup managers would love to be in his place. (12.06.02)