Image cred: safa
South Africa’s historic run at the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup ended in heartache following their 2-nil loss to the Netherlands at a packed Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday. Banyana Banyana could not cope with the dominance of the Dutch, after being one of three African nations, along with Morocco and Nigeria, to qualify for the knock-out stages. The Dutch opened the scoring in the 9th minute through Jill Roord, to take a 1-nil lead into the break before they extended their lead in the 68th minute through Lineth Beerensteyn. South Africa qualified for the last 16 for the first time after beating Italy 3-2 in the final group match for their first World Cup win and to end second in the Group G behind Sweden. Italy and Argentina, who drew 2-2 with Banyana Banyana, made up the rest of the table. Speaking post-match, Coach Desire Ellis said was proud of the team saying they came to put up a fight. “South Africa can be proud of this team. This team has grown and matured, very proud of this team,” she said. Captain, Thembi Kgatlana, said that they knew they would have their chances. However, she also lamented the “quick turn-around” between games, saying fatigue may have been a factor in the final game, but she said; “we came here to fight.” Kgatlana also hailed the growth in the team after their second World Cup in 2019, saying making it to the Round of 16 was a good experience.
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