In 2009, South Africa faced a La Roja side the majority which’s players went on to help their team to be crowned world champions the following year

Former Bafana Bafana midfielder Teko Modise says they were deceived in their analysis of Spain ahead of the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup third-place playoff and describes the match as the most eye-opening of his career.

South Africa went on to lose 3-2 after extra time as the Europeans won the bronze medal.

Modise was on the pitch for 69 minutes of the contest, featuring in the squad which had the likes of Steven Pienaar, Aaron Mokoenar, Mathew Booth, and Siphiwe Tshabalala.

“Playing against Spain in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup was the most educational game of my life, where you find yourself not only admiring the opponent but also studying the game,” said Modise in an interview with La Liga
 
“What are the things that they do and how they actually do them, because it is something else to watch them on TV and analyse them, but totally different playing against them on the pitch.

It was one of the most difficult and frustrating games for me, because they were actually better than they thought they were.”
 
The Kaizer Chiefs duo of Itumeleng Khune and Benard Parker as well as SuperSport United’s Bongani Khumalo are the only players who are yet to retire after they were part of that Bafana team.
 
Most of Spain players who were on duty that day later on formed the core of the team which won the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
 
“In that squad they had Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, David Silva, players who know how to play simple football, but are so skilful and are able to control the tempo,” Modise added.
 
“They know when to pass, how to pass, they know how to commit the fault and how to draw the fault. So to face such superstars and technically talented players was very, very frustrating. 
 
“But you could also see these are the type of things that they didn’t learn right away, but were instilled into them as kids playing in a development side and growing with those fundamentals of the game.”

The same Spain side had won the 2008 Uefa European Championship before retaining the title four years later in what was the most successful era of their national team. 

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