The Banyana Banyana national women's side went down 3-0 to 10th ranked Sweden at the Cape Town City stadium on Sunday.
Although it was South Africa's first match since they last faced Burkina Faso in October last year interim head coach Desiree Ellis' charges gave as much as they got in this exciting encounter against the Swedes, who were watched by the royal couple Prince Phillip and Princess Sofia.
A sizable crowd watched the match which featured Banyana Banyana playing in the Mother City for the first time.
After a good start, the home side were on the backfoot from an early stage, conceding an own goal in the 10th minute through defender Bambanani Mbani.
Banyana Banyana had a couple of chances to restore parity, but striker Thembi Kgatlana missed guilt-edged opportunities with the goalkeeper to beat, which could have changed the complexion of the game.
Ellis made a substitution late in the first half, replacing debutant Sduduzo Dlamini with the experienced Jermaine Seoposenwe.
But it was the Scandinavians who doubled their lead just two minutes after the restart in the second half through striker Loreta Kullashi, who had just joined the action.
She completed her brace after a defensive error in the 69th minute and Sweden were 3-0 to the good.
Ellis made some changes - bringing on Amogelang Motau, Melinda Kgadiete (who was also making her Banyana Banyana debut) and Kholosa Biyana for Nompulelelo Nyandeni, Chantelle Esau and Leandra Smeda respectively - but the switches did not have the desired effect.
The match ended 3-0 to the visitors but Banyana Banyana gave a good performance despite not finding the back of the net.
The women's next tournament is the Cyprus Cup at the end of February, where Banyana Banyana has been drawn with Slovakia, Hungary and Trinidad and Tobago in Group C.
Pictures of Refiloe Jane contesting possession (main picture) and Banyana players thanking the crowd courtesy of Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
This is how the two teams lined up:
Kaylin Swart (GK), Lebo Ramalepe, Nothando Vilakazi, Janine van Wyk (c), Bambanani Mbane, Refiloe Jane, Nompumelelo Nyandeni (Amogelang Motau), Leandra Smeda (Kholosa Biyana), Thembi Kgatlana, Sduduzo Dlamini (Jermaine Seoposenwe), Chantelle Esau (Melinda Kgadiete)
Subs: Andile Dlamini (GK), Noko Matlou, Regina Mogolola, Yonela Keto, Amogelang Motau, Rachel Sebati, Kholosa Biyana, Kgaelebane Mohlakoana, Melinda Kgadiete, Jermaine Seoposenwe
Anderson, Sembrant, Glas, Hurtig, Asllani, Jakobbson, Blackstenius, Carlen, Ilestadt, Seger, Schough.
Subs: Oksarsson, Eriksson, Roddar, Folkesson, Bjorn, Karlsson, Kullashi, Edgren, Larsson, Musovic, Rubensson, Holmgren.