17 June 2019 – Banyana Banyana will face their biggest test in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup when they take on Germany in this third and final match of the group stages.
This will be the first ever meeting between the two nations in any competition.
South Africa is ranked 49th in the world while Germany occupies the second spot.
The Europeans have never missed the tournament and are making their seventh appearance. They have been to three finals, lifting the trophy twice.
Germany has already booked their spot in the last 16 of the 2019 edition after back-to-back wins against China and Spain. They didn’t concede any goal in the two games.
South Africa comes into the match with two losses in a row, against Spain and China – conceding four goals in the process (3-1 and 1-0).
Banyana Banyana are not out of the World Cup as yet, and will be hoping for more positive results after coming very close in the previous matches in their maiden tournament.
Desiree Ellis’ charges cannot finish in the top two in Group B, but will have to win against the Germans to have any hopes of the best third placed team – but will also be relying on the results of the other group match between Spain and China.
Spain can still finish in any position in the group, and a win or a draw will see them through to the next round.
With two clean sheets in their two previous games, the Germans are unbeaten in 14 matches – 12 wins and two draws – since a 3-0 loss to France in 2018.
The Europeans have never lost to an African side in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, winning 4-0 and 1-0 against Nigeria in 1991 and 2011, and beating Ivory Coast 10-0 in 2015.
“We are a team that has a lot of belief, that always look up to the toughest challenges put ahead of us. We call this another final because we come up against a team that has loads of experience in the world of women’s football. They are tactically superior and are a very structured team that can hurt you if you are not careful. Mathematically we are still in with a chance, and if things go our way who knows, we may just sneak into the next round,” said Ellis.
“With that in mind, we believe it can be don. And I have told the players that they deserve something from this tournament after putting up great performances in the previous two matches, but it will take a lot of hard work as Germany is not an easy team to beat – after all they are not ranked second in the world for nothing. They have won the World Cup on two occasions and have never missed a tournament, a clear indication that it is going to be a very hard and long day at the office. But we are confident.”
But South Africa will have to recall the resilience, passion, determination, confidence and bravery they displayed at the 2018 Women’s AFCON in Ghana that saw them qualify for the World Cup, if they are to grab their first win in the tournament and stand a better chance of making the second round.
The clash between Banyana Banyana and Germany will be the third match of the 2019 edition to be staged at Stade de la Mosson – the other two fixtures was between Canada and Cameroon, and Australia and Brazil.
The venue seems to be a happy hunting ground for Germany – in the 1998 FIFA World Cup their men’s team defeated Iran 2-0 and Mexico 2-1.
South Africa is plagued by injuries to key players, with Thembi Kgatlana – who scored Banyana Banyana’s only goal so far – captain Janine van Wyk, Jermaine Seoposenwe and Linda Motlhalo trying to recuperation from their knocks.
NB: The top two teams in each group plus the four best third-place squads move on to the Round of 16.