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PRETORIA, South Africa — It was an emotional day for South Africa as the country remembered the Soweto Uprising of 1976 when young students protesting the use of Afrikaans in schools were shot by riot police and hundreds of people died in the escalating violence.
Today, June 16 is the Youth Day holiday honoring the students' sacrifice. But Wednesday also happened to be South Africa's second World Cup match against Uruguay, and on the field of Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld Stadium there was little to celebrate for locals.
South Africa looked stunned after a deflected shot from Diego Forlan dipped just under the crossbar and put Uruguay ahead in the 24th minute of the first half. And it went from bad to worse after a foul by South Africa's goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune, led to a penalty kick and his expulsion from the field.
Forlan made it 2-0 in the 80th minute, silencing all but a few vuvuzelas, and Uruguay added one more goal in the last minute of play with a clumsy header from Alvaro Pereira off a precise cross from Luis Suarez. With only one point in two games, South Africa now faces the very real prospect of early elimination as it prepares its last group match against France on Tuesday.
No host nation has ever failed to progress to the second round of the World Cup.