2023 FIFA Women's World Cup - South Africa v Italy

Image copyright: Getty Images


2023 FIFA Women's World Cup

Group G

South Africa v Italy

Wellington Regional Stadium
Wellington, New Zealand
Wednesday, 2 August 2023
Kick-off is at 09h00 
South Africa need to beat Italy at the Wellington Regional Stadium on Wednesday, August 2 to avoid an early exit from the 2023 Women's World Cup.
Banyana Banyana are third in Group G, two points behind Le Azzurre after failing to win their opening two games at the global showpiece despite showing signs of promise.
Desiree Ellis' side managed to take the lead against both Sweden and Argentina, but they weren't able to hold on for a historic victory on either occasion, losing 2-1 and drawing 2-2 respectively.
The African champions have already fared better on the world's biggest stage than four years ago when they lost all three matches on their debut in France and only scored once.

Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa
Image copyright: Getty Images
Ellis is viewing the clash with the Italians as a final as her team looks to make history by not only claiming their first-ever World Cup win, but also progressing to the knockout stages for the first time.
"We know it's another must-win," she said. "But we've shown through challenges and adversities that we can rise. We have one more moment for us to rise, make history and get the win we deserve in this tournament.
"It's a final. We can't think of anything beyond that. We talked about Argentina being the final, but this is the real final. We believe we can still get the results to take us to the next stage."
Italy will be determined to bounce back from the heavy 5-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of pre-tournament favourites Sweden on July 28.
Their goal difference took a pounding as a result, with Milena Bertolini's side having beaten La Albiceleste 1-0 to kick off their adventure Down Under.
A draw against Banyana Banyana could well be enough to secure Le Azzurre's passage to the round of 16, although Bertolini may not want to take a gamble in case Argentina pull off a shock result in their match.

Sofia Cantore
Image copyright: Getty Images

Bertolini admits conceding three goals just before half-time against the Blagult dented the confidence of her players and called for a calmer approach in midweek.
"They (Sweden) are very strong, they're very physical and they're very skilled, especially with their set-pieces," she said after the loss in Wellington.
"They have a lot of weapons, a lot of arrows in their quiver. The first half-hour, we actually gave them a hard time... we were a bit fragile mentally because after two goals, we were not able to stay calm."
Italy struggled to cope with Sweden's pace up front and they'll be seriously tested by Thembi Kgatlana, who already has one goal and one assist in the World Cup. The Racing Louisville striker sprung the offside trap against Argentina to race away before teeing the ball on a silver platter for Linda Motlhalo to open the scoring on the half-hour mark. She was then in the right place at the right time to convert Jermaine Seoposenwe's pass from close range to make it 2-0 in the 66th minute.
Le Azzurre made a bright start against Sweden and Sofia Cantore was central to that as she tested Zecira Musovic in the opening minute after being sent clear down the right flank before forcing the goalkeeper into another save on 17 minutes from an angle on the right. The young Juventus striker has only found the back of the net once for her country, but will fancy her chances against South Africa, who have yet to keep a clean sheet.   


Matches - 0
South Africa - 0
Italy - 0
Draws - 0

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Published: 08/01/2023