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Mokoena remains optimistic

PRETORIA, June 17 – South Africa need to quickly forget Wednesday's 3-0 defeat against Uruguay and regroup ahead of their final first round game, captain Aaron Mokoena said.A brace from former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan and a goal from Alvaro Pereira sunk Bafana Bafana.

The World Cup hosts now need to win their final group game against France to stand any chance of progressing to the knock-out stages.

"It was a good strike from Forlan but there was absolutely nothing we could do about it, it’s just one of those things that can happen in football," said Mokoena, about the Atletico Madrid forward’s first.

"The important thing is to move on and forget what’s happened, we still have a game to play and that’s really important.

"Everyone is aware of what position we’re in at the moment, we’ve drawn one and lost one and that’s absolutely not a good position.

"It’s going to be a hard game against France, for us it’s really about going back to the drawing board and being ready for France."

The 29-year-old felt that his team had not shown enough maturity to beat the South Americans but he said the big turning point was the penalty.

Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was sent-off for bringing down Luis Suarez, after which Forlan scored from the spot to make it 2-0.

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"We have got to show belief, in the first 15 minutes Uruguay provoked us and we fell into their trap and stopped playing our football.

"Unfortunately we were a bit naive, but that’s what happened.

"The penalty, everyone can talk a lot about it. That changed our shape and changed the game altogether.

"Playing against such a team and losing one man was always going to be a moutain to climb and that’s what happened tonight."

Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar said their final group match against France would be like a cup final.

"It’s a bit sad now, we’re disappointed we lost but we have to lift ourselves up, it’s not over," he said.

"We have to hope tomorrow’s (Thursday) game (between France and Mexico) goes in our favour, we’ll hope for a draw and then we have a cup final to play against France."

"If tomorrow’s game goes in our favour, if it’s a draw, we can expect a lot."

Moneeb Josephs, who replaced Khune between the sticks, said the crowd in Bloemfontein will have a big role to play against France on June 22.

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"It’s going to give us a big, big advantage and we need everything we can get," he said.

"People have been writing us off since the beginning of the tournament so that’s nothing new.

"We’ve got nothing to prove to them or ourselves, we’re capable of showing the world out there that we can achieve and we want to be successful in this tournament."

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