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2023 Women's World Cup

Banyana Banyana: How South Africa made World Cup history

Photo Copyright Joe Serci for SPP

Heading into their third and final matches in Group G, South Africa and Italy had everything to play for. Italy would go through with a win or draw while South Africa could only advance with win. 

Italy struck first, getting on the board in the 11th minute with Arianna Caruso’s penalty kick conversion. The Italians were understandably over the moon at the prospect of making it to a consecutive knockout stage after their Cinderella run in France 2019.

South Africa’s hopes of making it to the knockout stages hung in the balance for 21 minutes until one of Italy’s own, Benedetta Orsi, equalized for the South Africans.

The game continued to go back and forth. Hildah Magaia put Banyana Banyana ahead 67 minutes in and less than ten minutes later Caruso scored her second to level the score at two goals each.

This result would have been sufficient to advance the Azure but in the first minutes of stoppage time Thembi Kgatlana slotted home Magaia’s cross for the game-winning goal.

For the first time in South Africa’s history, they have advanced to the knockout stage of a FIFA World Cup in the women’s second participation in the tournament.

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