Banyana’s World Cup dreams ended by Germany

Banyana Banyana’s participation in their maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup in France has come to and end.

This comes after they were knocked out of this year’s edition following a 4-0 loss to Germany in the final match of Group B, which was played on Monday, 17 June at Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier.

This was the first ever meeting between the two nations.

In the other group match, China and Spain played to a goalless draw to proceed to the round of last 16 in the tournament, joining the already qualified Germany who top the table with nine points after three wins.

Spain finished second with four points, level with third-placed China while South Africa are bottom of the table with no points.

The Germans were in total control against South Africa, who were making their first appearance in the competition.

The debutants had a first half they would quickly love forget.

Melanie Leupolz opened the scoring with a header after she was left unmarked in the 14thminute.

A shortwhile later Sara Daebritz benefitted from a mistake by goalkeeper Andile Dlamini who spilled a ball onto her path and she made it 2-0 to Germany.

Just five mintes before the break, the two-time World Cup winners found the back of the net from a powerful header by Alexandra Popp, connecting with a beautiful cross from Guilia Gwinn – and the match was over as a contest.

Magull made it 4-0 after the recess.

Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis had made two changes at half time, bringing on Rhoda Mulaudzi and Thembi Kgatlana for Amanda Mthandi and Ode Fulutudilu respectively.

The move seemed to work as South Africa played better in this half, taking the game to Germany.

First captain Janine van Wyk fired from long range but the ball sailed over the bar, then Kgatlana and Muladzi were through on goal on separate occassions but were denied by Almuth Schult in the German goals.

The Europeans did not sit back at all, despite leading 4-0 and could have scored had it not been for the heroics of Dlamini stopping them on a number of occassions.

In the end, South Africa exited the tournament having scored one goal – against Spain – and conceding eight goals.

A lot of lessons have been learnt by Banyana Banyana, and one of them is the inability to defend set-pieces.

“We always knew this was going to be our toughest match in the tournament, but we have to look back at the last two games and think that had we put the ball in the back of the net things could be different. But it was a worthwhile experience for all of us, and we hope to come back stronger and wiser next time,” said Ellis.

“Germany showed they were in a class of their own, and no matter how much we tried to compete they were just a step ahead. But I have to applaud the players for their performance, even though the results did not go our way. I cannot fault them for lack of effort. We take a lot of lessons out of this experience. I am also glad were we able to play our brand of football, and hope the world took note of the talent available in South Africa. After this wonderful experience we would definitely love to come back.”

The Germans were like a well-oiled machine and have not conceded in the first half in their last 20 Women’s World Cup matches.

Banyana Banyana haven’t won a match since they beat Mali in the semifinal of the 2018 Women’s AFCON in Ghana in November.

They have already faced Nigeria, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland twice, Korea DPR, Czech Republic, Jamaica, USA, Norway, Spain, China and Germany.

The South Africans will fly out of France on Tuesday night (18 June) and are expected to land on Wednesday morning (19 June) at 10h45.