Spain v South Africa | Group Stage 2019
Playing on such a large level might well have been the reason for Banyana Banyana’s lengthy struggle to settle down in this game. Thembi Kgatlana was always going to be Spain’s greatest danger with her speed and fast thinking to find room for defence. South Africa’s opening goal was certainly a signal to the uncertainty this match brought.
Spain has had plenty and generated reasonable opportunities. South Africans were threatened with rapid counterattacks each time they lost the ball. With Kgatlana the primary obstacle often in 3v3 form. In dangerous circumstances, Spain was sent a message at half time: you must continue to attack but stop losing the ball. Precision was needed.
To increase Spain’s assault, Vilda produced two half-time replacements. Both players from a bench, Aitana and Lucia, respectively a midfielder and an advanced player, were members of the FIFA U-20 World Cup finals squad.
Desiree Ellis hoped in the second half of coach that her midfield might hold the ball and dictate that match. But Banyana had to stick to what brought them success in the 1st half — their countering speed.
After much suffering against South Africa, Spain lastly secured its first Women’s World Cup victory. In the first half of the squad, however, the opportunities were clear. However, after the break, Bonmati, Garcia and Nahikari substituted the match.
Hermoso was a worthy Player of the Match, Spain’s penalty expert.
IMAGE: Background from Pexels, Player from FIFA.com Profiles.