South Africa will surprise at World Cup: coach

South African coach Carlos Alberto Parreira believes his team is slowly developing the style necessary to be a surprise at the World Cup.

South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira believes his team is slowly developing the style necessary to be a surprise at the World Cup.

The Brazilian envisions his team playing a quick passing game, taking on opponents with skill and technique rather than brawn.

"The shape is done. We have a defined way of playing, that's clear now," said Parreira, the 1994 World Cup-winning coach.

"Keeping the ball on the ground is coming. It takes time, but it's coming.

"I believe if you want to qualify at the World Cup, you have to do something well. And that for us would be in the technical and skills aspect of the game. We cannot beat these teams in the physical way. We have to play good against them with the ball on the ground. This is our big strength. That's what I want them to believe in."

World Cup host South Africa has been at a training camp in Germany in preparation for the tournament, which it opens on June 11 against Mexico. France and Uruguay are also in Group A.

"I think the mood is good. We know that we have a very tough group. We know we should be well prepared otherwise our chances are absolutely nothing," Parreira said. "We should be well prepared physically, tactically mentally to rise in the right moments. We have to be the surprising team at the World Cup.

"Everyone wants the home country to perform good. It's not different with South Africa. I hope this pressure, as it was at the Confederations Cup, will make the team go higher. Some teams will fade with the pressure."

'More prepared this time'

South Africa takes on Jamaica in Offenbach on Wednesday in the team's final warmup during its training camp in Germany. The two teams drew 0-0 last November in Bloemfontein. Parreira's team from that game included the nation's foreign-based players, who have not been cleared to participate at the current training camp.

"We are more prepared this time," Parreira said. "We should play better. We are more ready. We believe it will be a different game. We are more prepared physically and mentally and the shape is there. The identity is coming."

The Africans are looking for a good showing after a 0-0 draw with North Korea last week.

"The Jamaica game in November was a bit disappointing. So I think the guys want to set the record straight and get a good result, especially after the disappointing result against North Korea," said defender Matthew Booth. "I think we should have wrapped that up easily but we failed to do so."

South Africa leaves Germany on Thursday. Parreira will call the team back to another training camp in Johannesburg on May 4.

The coach said Tuesday he hopes to play four more friendlies before the tournament, maybe against Bulgaria, Colombia and Denmark while there are three possible teams for the last match.