WHILE South Africa managed to beat Mexico in the opening game of the 32 Schools World Cup tournament currently under way in Free State, they failed to make it through to the group stages.
Instead France (Ntsu High School) and Uruguay (Evungweni) made it to the last-16 stage after they they got the better of South Africa (Manthathisi) and Mexico (Molapo) in the group stage.
The tournament, which is the brainchild of former Durban Bush Bucks, Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows striker and television soccer analyst Mike "Sporo" Mangena, has taken the format of the 2010 Fifa World Cup scheduled for June 11 to July 11.
South Africans will hope Bafana Bafana do not emulate the QwaQwa-based Manthathisi, who are now going to be watching their own party from the sidelines. The round of 16 matches are scheduled for Saturday in Sasolburg and Bethlehem.
Africa now has two representatives left in the competition with Ivory Coast's Louis Botha coming up against Honduras's Reamohetse in Bethlehem and Algeria of Mamelland Thuto facing Australia's Harmony in Sasolburg.
This World Cup has churned out a lot of surprise results, much to the excitement of pupils and the communities around the province, with some predicting that the 32 nations should beware of the omens.
Brazil, Spain, England, Germany, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria have been eliminated in the first round in the Free State schools event and have since packed their bags and left the country.
In Sasolburg on Saturday, France (Ntsu) lock horns with Argentina (Ikeketseng), USA (Dr Cingo) play Serbia (Kutlwanong), Australia (Harmony) engage Algeria (Mamellang Thuto) and South Korea (Cedar) face Uruguay (Evungweni).
In Bethlehem on the same day, Japan (Moriting wa Thuto) come up against Italy (Metsimaphodi), Ivory Coast square up against Honduras (Reamohetse), Paraguay (Lere la Thuto) tackle Denmark (Boitumelo) and Switzerland (Kgoro ya Thuto) meet Portugal.