Both teams looking for their first points in Group G: Argentina and South Africa will face each other in a crucial match in Group G of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday. Both teams lost their opening games and are in need of a positive result to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stage alive.
Argentina suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Italy in their first game, conceding a penalty in the 88th minute. South Africa also lost by a one-goal margin, falling 2-1 to Sweden after taking the lead through a stunning strike by Thembi Kgatlana.
Both coaches expressed their disappointment with the results, but also praised their players for their efforts and resilience. They also stressed the importance of focusing on the next game and improving their performance
Argentina aiming to end their winless run at the World Cup
Argentina have never won a game at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, having played ten matches and losing nine of them. Their only point came from a 0-0 draw with Japan in 2019, when they also managed to hold England to a 1-0 loss thanks to a heroic display by goalkeeper Vanina Correa.
The Albicelestes have some experienced players in their squad, such as Estefania Banini, who plays for Levante in Spain, Florencia Bonsegundo, who scored two goals in a 4-4 draw with Scotland in 2019, and Correa, who saved a penalty against Italy in their first game. They also have some young talents, such as Dalila Ippolito, who plays for Juventus in Italy, and Milagros Menendez, who scored against Scotland in 2019.
Coach Carlos Borrello said his team was confident of breaking their winless streak and competing with South Africa. He said his team had prepared well and had learned from their mistakes against Italy.
“We have to be more clinical in front of goal and take our chances. We have to be more solid defensively and avoid conceding late goals. We have to play with passion and determination. We have to believe that we can win our first World Cup game,” Borrello said.
South Africa eyeing their first ever World Cup win
South Africa are also looking for their first World Cup win, having made their debut in 2019 and losing all three games. They came close to achieving that feat against Sweden, but conceded a late goal to lose 2-1.
The Banyana Banyana have a talented squad that includes Kgatlana, who was named the African Women’s Player of the Year in 2018, Refiloe Jane, who plays for AC Milan in Italy, and captain Janine van Wyk, who has over 170 caps for her country. They also have the advantage of having played in New Zealand before, when they participated in the OFC Nations Cup in 2018.
Coach Desiree Ellis said her team was proud of their performance against Sweden and confident of bouncing back against Argentina. She said her team had shown that they could compete with the best in the world and that they were determined to make history by winning their first World Cup game.
“We have learned a lot from our first game and we are ready to face Argentina. They are a tough opponent, but we have our strengths and we will fight for every ball. We have to be more focused and composed in the final third and defend as a unit. We have to play with courage and conviction. We have to make our country proud,” Ellis said.
A vital game for both teams
Both teams know that this game could be decisive for their chances of advancing to the knockout stage of the tournament. With Sweden and Italy leading the group with three points each, Argentina and South Africa need to get some points on the board to stay in contention. The game is expected to be a tight and tense affair, with both teams fighting for every inch of the pitch.
The match will kick off at 5:30 AM IST on Friday, July 28. You can watch it live on FIFA TV or follow the live updates on UEFA.com.