Home News South Africa 3-2 Italy: Banyana Banyana Progress Amidst Thembi Kgatlana’s Personal Tragedy

South Africa 3-2 Italy: Banyana Banyana Progress Amidst Thembi Kgatlana’s Personal Tragedy

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Women's World Cup South Africa Victory

South Africa has secured a spot in the top 16, having celebrated their inaugural Women’s World Cup triumph with a breathtaking 3-2 win over Italy in Wellington.

Thembi Kgatlana netted the decisive goal in the dying minutes, following a spirited comeback from Italy, equalizing with Arianna Caruso’s header.

This concluded a deeply poignant fortnight for the South African scorer.

“In the past two weeks, I’ve mourned the loss of three family members. I could have opted to return home, but decided to stand by my teammates,” expressed Kgatlana.

She explained her decision, stating, “Because the cause means that much.”

The forward from Racing Louisville, who was kept out of the game for 10 months due to an Achilles injury in 2022, shared, “I came back from a devastating injury to be here, to represent my country and every girl who aspires to be here, to make history with my teammates for South Africa.”

The South African team is now set to face Group E winners, the Netherlands, on Sunday.

Following a 2-2 draw against Argentina that earned them their first World Cup point, Banyana Banyana’s significant improvements from their 2019 tournament debut — when they lost all their group games — are commendable.

When the final whistle confirmed their historic achievement, there were wild celebrations among the South African players.

Desiree Ellis, the manager, commended her team, saying, “They battled like true warriors.”

“They fought like the true heroines we know them to be. They have made history by not only achieving our first win but also reaching the round of 16, which is freaking phenomenal. This victory is dedicated to everyone back home, who woke up in the wee hours to support us.”

Italy had a promising start, being granted a penalty when Karabo Dhlamini inadvertently tripped teenage player Chiara Beccari, allowing Caruso to confidently convert and set her team on a path to control their World Cup destiny.

South Africa was handed an equalizer when Benedetta Orsi, making her World Cup debut, embarrassingly scored an own goal with an inadvertent back pass that took goalkeeper Francesca Durante by surprise.

Ellis’s team surged ahead when Kgatlana smartly slotted a ball for Hildah Magaia to score. Despite a potential lifeline from VAR for South Africa when Caruso equalized from a corner, the goal was eventually approved after a substantial delay.

Italy would have advanced to the knockout rounds with a draw, but were left devastated when Magaia outwitted their defence and assisted Kgatlana for the winning goal.

Player of the match

Thembi Kgatlana, with an average rating of 9.20, was recognized as the player of the match.

Other South African players’ average ratings were as follows:

  • Hildah Magaia: 8.94
  • Motlhalo: 8.73
  • Gamede: 8.71
  • Seoposenwe: 8.67
  • Matlou: 8.55
  • Moodaly: 8.54
  • Dhlamini: 8.26
  • Ramalepe: 8.25
  • Shongwe: 8.15
  • Kgoale: 8.14
  • Holweni: 7.98
  • Makhubela: 7.87
  • Mbane: 7.85
  • Swart: 7.12

Match statistics reveal that Italy dominated possession (62%), with South Africa holding 38%. Both teams had an equal number of corners (5), while Italy outdid South Africa in terms of shots (18 against 12) and shots on target (7 against 5). South Africa had more fouls (12 against Italy’s 9).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Women’s World Cup South Africa Victory

Who scored the winning goal in South Africa’s victory over Italy in the Women’s World Cup?

Thembi Kgatlana scored the winning goal for South Africa in their match against Italy in the Women’s World Cup.

What personal tragedy did Thembi Kgatlana face during the tournament?

Thembi Kgatlana faced the loss of three family members during the tournament, but chose to stay with her team.

What was the outcome of the match between South Africa and Italy?

South Africa won the match against Italy with a score of 3-2, securing their place in the top 16.

Who were the key players in the South Africa team?

Thembi Kgatlana and Hildah Magaia were among the key players in the South African team, contributing significantly to their victory.

What was the next match for South Africa after their victory over Italy?

South Africa was set to play against Group E winners, the Netherlands, after their victory over Italy.

Who was the player of the match in the game between South Africa and Italy?

Thembi Kgatlana was recognized as the player of the match in the game between South Africa and Italy.

How did Italy score their first goal in the match against South Africa?

Italy scored their first goal when Karabo Dhlamini inadvertently tripped teenage player Chiara Beccari, allowing Arianna Caruso to confidently convert a penalty.

More about Women’s World Cup South Africa Victory

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footyFanJoe August 2, 2023 - 12:12 pm

Gutted for Italy, but u gotta admit, south africa deserved this one. And the story of Kgatlana… pure inspiration.

LisaJ34 August 2, 2023 - 12:59 pm

Wow, can’t believe the comeback by South Africa! Such a thrilling game, and Thembi Kgatlana is amazing!! What a hero!!

MichelleD August 2, 2023 - 3:06 pm

Who else got up in the early hours to support our girls? So worth it! Banyana Banyana, you make us proud!!

SoccerLover101 August 2, 2023 - 6:08 pm

Crazy match!! All my respect to Kgatlana, losing 3 family members but still staying with her team and scoring the winning goal… she’s a true warrior!

Banyana4Life August 2, 2023 - 11:20 pm

Cant believe we made it to the last 16!! This is a historic moment for us! Kgatlana, you are a star!! Keep shining!!

AntonioR August 3, 2023 - 4:55 am

as an italian fan, it’s a tough loss. but hats off to south africa, especially Kgatlana. She showed some real strength and grit out there.

AfricanPride August 3, 2023 - 5:58 am

Thembi Kgatlana, you are a real inspiration. Can’t imagine what you’re going through. We’re all behind you and the Banyana Banyana!!

WorldCupWatcher August 3, 2023 - 10:37 am

What a game… Thought Italy had it in the bag after that first goal. But that own goal, what a disaster for them!! Great game from both teams though.


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