Banyana Banyana suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Spain in their opening Group B encounter of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup played on Saturday, 8 June 2019 at Stade Océane in Le Havre, France.
Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis had made one change from the squad that played against Norway in South Africa's last international friendly last week (Sunday, 2 June 2019) - bringing on Van Wyk for Bambanani Mbane.
Spain dictated terms from the onset with a lot of ball possession but South Africa held their own in the opening minutes of the game.
In the 25thminute, Thembi Kgatlana left the Spaniards shell-shocked with a well-taken curler to score Banyana Banyana's first goal in the World Cup.
The second half saw the Europeans, who had made two changes after the break, throw everything into attack. Banyana Banyana played into their hands by defending too deep. But the debutants at times proved to be a danger to Spain when attacking, and would catch them on the break but failed to convert - something that has been a concern for Ellis.
Defensively though, Banyana Banyana was sound left Spain frustrated.
In the end the Europeans got a lifeline when Van Wyk was judged - through the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system - to have handled the ball in the box.
She was shown a yellow card and Spain awarded a penalty, which Jennifer Hermoso coolly slotted in in the 68thminute.
The nightmare continued for Banyana Banyana as, after consulting the VAR system again, the referee pointed to the penalty spot and gave Nothando Vilakazi her second yellow card of match, which meant a red card - she will miss the next clash against China on Thursday, 13 Jun in Paris.
Hermoso put Spain into the lead as she scored her's and Spain's second of the night to make it 2-1, thereby becoming the first player in FIFA Women's Cup history to score a brace of penalties in a single match.
Ellis made three changes in this stanza - replacing Linda Motlhalo, Amanda Mthandi and Ode Fulutudilu with Busisiwe Ndimeni, Jermaine Seoposenwe and Leandra Smeda respectively.
Seoposenwe is now the only South African to have played two world cup tournaments at different levels - she was part of the U-17 Women's National Team that played in the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago.
But with one player short, it was always going to be a mountain to climb, and Banyana Banyana conceded in the dying minutes of the match when Spain netted their third of the evening to make it 3-1.
The result saw them move to the top of the table as Germany defeated China 1-0 in the other Group B match.
The Germans are in second place, followed by the Asians while South Africa is bottom of the table.
Banyana Banyana will have to regroup for the next assignment against China, which has now become a must-win fixture.
Kickoff is at 21h00.
It was a day of many firsts for South Africa:
- The Banyana Banyana team walking for the first time ever onto the field in a FIFA Women's World Cup
- The South African flag flying high at this tournament
- The South African national anthem being sung at this competition
- Desiree Ellis being the first ever coach to guide a South African Senior Women's National Team in the tournament
- Janine van Wyk becoming the first player to captain the team at this level
- Thembi Kgatlana becoming the first South African to score for Banyana Banyana in a World Cup - thereby becoming the first African player to score against a European side in the tournament since 1995
- Nothando Vilakazi becoming the first ever Banyana Banyana player to be red carded in the World Cup
- Jermaine Seoposenwe becoming the first South African female to play in two different World Cup tournaments in different levels (U-17 and Banyana Banyana)
- It was also the first time they faced Spain
This is how they lined up:
Andile Dlamini (GK), Lebohang Ramalepe, Nothando Vilakazi (red card), Janine van Wyk (c), Noko Matlou, Amanda Mthandi (Jermaine Seoposenwe), Kholosa Biyana, Refiloe Jane, Linda Motlhalo (Busisiwe Ndimeni), Thembi Kgatlana, Ode Fulutudilu (Leandra Smeda)
Mapaseka Mpuru (GK), Bambanani Mbane, Karabo Dhlamini, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Tiisetso Makhubela, Bongeka Gamede, Busisiwe Ndimeni, Rhoda Mulaudzi, Sibulele Holweni, Mamello Makhabane, Leandra Smeda, Kaylin Swart (GK),
Head Coach: Desiree Ellis
Sandre Panos (GK), Irene Paredes, Vicky Losada, Marta Corredera, Marta Torrejon (c), Mariona Cadentey, Jennifer Hermoso, Alexia Putellas, Virginia Torrecilla, Maria Leon, Amanda Sampedro.
Dolores Gallardo (GK), Celia Jimenez, Leila Ouahabi, Ivana Andres, Patri Guijarro, Silvia Meseguer, Lucia Bonmati, Andrea Pereira, Andrea Falcon, Nahikani Garcia, Maria Quinones (GK)
Head Coach: Jorge Vilda
REFEREE: MARIA CARVAJAL (CHILE)
ASST. REF 1: LESLIE VASQUEZ (CHILE)
ASST. REF 2: LORETO TOLOZA (CHILE)
4THOFFICIAL: LAURA FORTUNATO (ARG)