Francois Pienaar, South Africa’s World Cup-winning captain, says there will few tears shed for Scotland if they go out of the tournament this weekend.
Pienaar, who led the Springboks to glory on home soil in 1995, was in Glasgow to speak at the Street Soccer Scotland Gala Dinner. He has been captivated by the performances of hosts Japan – who will progress at Scotland’s expense without taking to the field in the event of typhoon Hagibis causing the cancellation of the final group game between the sides which is scheduled for Yokohama on Sunday.
“I’m not going to bullshit you, it is going to be difficult to [find anyone that wants Scotland to win] except for your supporters in the stadium and the people here [in Scotland],” Pienaar said.
“I’m sure the Scottish people won’t find it offensive if I say I would really like Japan to be in the knockout stages because the World Cup is being held in their country. I experienced in 1995 what sport can do for a country when a team is doing well, with the people, the atmosphere and the pride. So it would just be insane if Japan were to qualify for the knockout stages this time around.”But Piennar maintained he considers himself an honorary Scotsman in other respects.
“A mate of mine is Scottish and we have Robert Burns Day at his house every year. The haggis gets piped in and all the rest of it,” he said.
“I love coming to Scotland as the people are incredible. They’re friendly and hospitable, they love their sport, and they’re engaging. Just great people.”