Spain cheated, but still defeated at hands of South Africa
Spain were hoping for a glorious return to South Africa, the place where they became the world champions almost four years ago, but their trip had nothing to offer except for embarrassment. La Furia Roja experienced a 1-0 defeat at the hands of South Africa and were involved in heated debate between coaches and match officials.
The shocking 1-0 defeat was marginally overshadowed by the touchline ruckus, which started when the 2010 World Cup winners requested to replace their injured goalkeeper Victor Valdes despite having already made their six allowed substitutions.
South Africa coach Gordon Igesund was outraged at Spain’s attempt at calling in for a seventh substitution after Valdes went down during a routine clearance. Alvaro Arbeloa donned Valdes’ jersey and gloves quickly and positioned himself between the sticks, but the Spanish defender didn’t get to keep.
According to reports from the AS, officials from the Spanish camp approached FIFA official, Ayodele Anjorin Moucharafou, requesting the permission of a seventh substitution, which was quickly granted. Match referee William Koto waved towards the change as Pepe Reina stepped in to replace Valdes and Arbeloa returned to his defending duties.
Igesund quickly grew enraged at Spain’s attempt to cheat and took his frustration out on Spain’s assistant manager Toni Grande, who was involved in acquiring the seventh substitution permission from FIFA. Koto also got involved in the heated debate on the sidelines.
The quandary cooled down after a while with both managers returning to the dugout with a disgruntled look on their face. After the game Spain’s coach Vicente Del Bosque insisted that South Africa had shown good sportsman spirit to allow their seventh substitution.
“We had made the six changes and we asked the [FIFA] table if they would let us use [another] keeper,” Del Bosque said. “We appreciate the 'fair play' of South Africa.”
Igesund was fuming at his post-match press conference. Clearly, the Bafana Bafana coach realized that protesting loudly won’t bring him any good.
“I made it quite clear when they came to asked me if they can put in another player,” Igesund said. “I told them I am not the referee. And I think we need to follow the rules and regulations. But I am not going to object if they want to put in another player, but they need to speak to the referee first as he's the official.”