African Champions South Africa have qualified for their first ever knockout round at a FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 3-2 win over Italy on Wednesday August 2.
The Desire Ellis trained South African ladies required victory against Italy to progress to the knockout round but the Europeans would have progressed with a draw.
The keenly contested game looked headed for a 2-2 draw in favour of the Europeans until South Africa’s star Thembi Kgatlana struck a winner in the second minute of additional time to send the African Champions through to the next round.
In the match, it was Italy who drew first blood through Caruso but their first half dominance was cancelled off by an own goal to send both teams to the changing room tied 1-1.
In the second half, Magaia scored in the 67th minute to put South Africa 2-1 up but the Italians drew level with Caruso’s second of the match in the 74th minute.
At the expiration of 90′ minutes, eleven minutes was added on for stoppages and so the African Champions found space to strike the winner and seal a first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup win and knockout round spot.
In a dramatic finale, Magaia set-up Thembi Kgatlana to stab home the winner and secure a runners-up place behind Sweden for South Africa.
It finished South Africa 3-2 Italy, to end the European nation’s journey and bring to two the number of African teams in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup last-16 – the other being Nigeria who finished runners-up in group B.