Revived Banyana Banyana makes World Cup history


Banyana beat Italy 3-2

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Africa has booked a berth in the knockout stages of the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) Women’s World Cup, becoming the second side from the continent to progress.

The nail-biting, 3-2, victory over closest rivals, Italy, at the Wellington Regional Stadium, New Zealand, is a historic one for the reigning African champions, who not only secured qualification for the first time to the Last 16.

It is their first victory at this tournament.

The outcome in Group G, complemented by already-qualified Sweden beating Argentina, marks a complete turnaround of fortunes for coach Desire Ellis’ side that seemed down and out prior to the match.

This followed the team throwing away leads to lose against Sweden and Argentina, as well as off-field distractions over allegations of interference in team selection.

At the Wellington Regional however, they had to come from a goal down after Arianna Carruso put Italy’s Le Azzure ahead with an 11th minute spotkick.

A comical own goal by Benedetta Osi in the 32nd minute gave South Africa a lifeline.

Hilda Magaia put the Africans ahead in the 67th minute with a powerful finish inside the box but that lasted only seven minutes when Carruso headed the Europeans level.

The failure to hold on to leads crept in South Africa’s ranks.

But unlike in previous matches, Banyana Banyana showed character, their pressure paying off when Thembi Gatlana tapped in the second minute of injury time.

South Africa had to endure 16 minutes of injury time before celebrating the biggest achievement by any local side at a football World Cup.

Banyana will play The Netherlands in the Last 16 in Sydney on Sunday.

Nigeria are the other African side in the knockout stage and are set to play England on Monday in Brisbane, Australia.

– CAJ News



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