South Africa-New Zealand preview
After taking just one point from their opener against Asian champions Iraq on 14 June, Joel Santana's South Africa need a win against the wounded All Whites at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium to keep their semi-final hopes alive at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009.
New Zealand, for their part, will be eager to finally register their first ever three-point haul in the showpiece event after 630 minutes of football in the competition. Their 5-0 defeat by Spain must have been hard to swallow, but they will have to get over that and fast if they wish to deny Bafana Bafana.
And New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert is well acquainted with this South African squad, having come up against several of the host nation's current stars back in 2000 when in charge of the Kiwis' U-23 side: "I know some of their players. I think the guy [Steven] Pienaar is very dangerous, I've seen him in action a lot. They have some experienced players and I really respect them."
After his man-of-the-match performance against Iraq, Teko Modise will be eager to keep that form going against the All Whites. Technically adroit and comfortable on the ball, his incisive passing, intelligent movement and eye for the unexpected combine to make him South Africa's danger man.
After struggling to make an impact against the slick Spaniards, New Zealand marksman Shane Smeltz will be determined to lead from the front against the hosts. The former Oceania Football of the Year was a key figure in the Kiwis' narrow 4-3 defeat to world champions Italy in a pre-tournament friendly, while his importance to the squad is exacerbated in the absence of rock-solid Blackburn Rovers defender Ryan Nelsen.
Wednesday's encounter will be the first meeting between the two country's senior national teams in FIFA competition. They have, however, met outside of FIFA events, with all four encounters taking place within the place of 30 days way back in 1947 and all ending in victory to Bafana Bafana.
The two countries have also met in a memorable clash at U-23 level, with South Africa emerging triumphant in a two-legged qualifying play-off for the Men's Olympic Football Tournament Sydney 2000.
Did you know?
Both South Africa and New Zealand are yet to win a game in the FIFA Confederations Cup. This is Bafana Bafana's second appearance in the tournament while South Africa 2009 is edition number three for the All Whites.
What they said
"The competition itself is motivation enough for us. Today's a new day and we'll bounce back. We're still learning but we do have a few things we can do better, particularly against the hosts South Africa who will also be looking to improve after their 0-0 draw with Iraq." New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert.
"We need four or five points to reach the semi-finals of the competition and right now we have one. That makes the game against New Zealand crucial for us. We are going to use the time before that game to prepare, to work on our mistakes so that we are ready for them. We know it won't be easy." South Africa coach Joel Santana.