Banyana Banyana CAN still qualify for Women’s World Cup Round of 16

Banyana Banyana CAN still qualify for Women’s World Cup Round of 16
Photo by Icon Sport

The South Africa women's team, Banyana Banyana, on Friday played the Argentina women's team in the ongoing 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand. The match ended 2-2.

Banyana Banyana, having lost their first game 2-1 to Sweden in Group G, were aiming to get a favourable result as they took on the South Americans.

The reigning Women's Africa Cup of Nations champions looked on course to grab their first three points in the competition against Argentina as goals from Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana gave the South Africans a two-goal lead.

But in an unfortunate turn of events for them, Banyana Banyana lost concentration and allowed Argentina to score twice within five minutes to end up with a draw in a match they could have easily gotten all three points in.

Banyana Banyana star Linda Motlhalo in action for South Africa
Credit: Icon Sport

The result left South Africa in third place in Group G with one point, and they have themselves to blame for failing to take advantage of the situation after scoring twice to go 2-0 ahead.

Meanwhile Sweden and Italy have three points each, as the teams occupy first and second position in Group G.

Key scenarios that will help Banyana Banyana qualify for the tournament's Round of 16

Here are some key scenarios that will help Banyana Banyana qualify for the tournament's Round of 16.

Sweden defeating Italy

The Sweden women's team will battle Italy in the second Group G match of the women's tournament. Interestingly, both sides have three points going into the clash.

This match can go either way, but Banyana Banyana's hopes of qualification first lies in the outcome of this game. The result that the South Africans need in this match is a win for Sweden.

If the Swedish team defeat Italy, South Africa only need to beat the Italians to qualify. It'll be interesting to see how this happens.

Banyana Banyana beating Italy

Banyana Banyana can qualify for the Round of 16 if they can win their last game, but this can only happen if Italy loses to Sweden.

South Africa play Italy women's team on 2 August in a must-win encounter for the South Africans should Sweden do them a favour.

The South Africans have had a decent showing so far in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. They've been the only African side to have scored in the first two games of the group stage.

They will be hoping for Sweden to do them a favour having squandered their chance at qualification when they faced off with Argentina.

Sweden vs Italy clash ending in a draw

Should the game between Sweden and Italy end in a draw, Banyana Banyana can still make the Round of 16 if they defeat the Italians by at least three goals.

If South Africa defeat the Italians, they both will finish on four points, and with a superior goal difference, they will be placed second.

Those are the three scenarios as you can see, but what if Sweden beat Italy?

South Africa can still have this favour done to them by Sweden and still fail to beat Italy. This brings us to the next question.

How can Banyana Banyana defeat the Italians if they lose to Sweden?

Banyana Banyana should get Thembi Kgatlana involved

Thembi Kgatlana got the second goal for South Africa in their last game, and should be fully involved in the game against the Italians.

She's an attacking threat Banyana Banyana can use to achieve qualification into the next round. If she's isolated from the game, Banyana Banyana will find it difficult to get past the Italians.

Banyana Banyana star Karabo Dhlamini in action for South Africa
Credit: Icon Sport

Midfield and defense should remain compact

As seen from their last two games, the midfield has failed to shield the defense line properly, and this has cost them valuable three points.

Coach Desiree should let her girls know that victory is a collective effort. At 2-0 up, the whole team should have worked together to achieve a common goal.

Against the Italians, the midfield must fall back to help defend for the team when necessary if they're to beat the Europeans.

Banyana Banyana must remain focused

The South Africans must know the task ahead against the Italians, and the need to remain focused to execute whatever plans the coach instructs them. The mistakes of the previous games should be a learning curve for Banyana Banyana, and must not be repeated.

The team should know that they're not representing just South Africa but also the African continent at large, and so, they must remain fully committed to the task of qualifying, knowing they can do it.

Ellis should know when to change approach in a game

The lost points in the game against the Argentines should be a wake up call for the head coach of Banyana Banyana. At 2-0, she only needed to bring in defenders and lock up shop, remove the attackers, and tell the whole team to fall back with the defenders.

Should South Africa be lucky enough to be in a positive situation against the Italians, Ellis should change her approach since three points is all that matters in a football game.

This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago

Joseph is a graduate engineer turned sports writer, he has covered lots of sports stories, match previews and predictions across various leagues on the planet.