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South Africa on the verge of a new feat against the Netherlands

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South Africa on the verge of a new feat against the Netherlands

Their lungs were burning, their legs were unresponsive, but the Banyana Banyana (the girls) used their last resources to overwhelm the country’s newest star, Thembi Kgatlana (27), who broke down in tears at the final whistle . The international striker, who has lost three members of her family in the last three weeks, offered, at the start of added time, “a historic victory” to South Africa against Italy (3-2 ), Wednesday, in the group stage.

With a flat right foot assured, the goalscorer of Racing Louisville, in the United States, gave her country the first victory in its history in the World Cup, as well as the first qualification in the round of 16 of a World Cup, men and women together. “South Africa, we did this feat for you, we love you! “, was moved the providential scorer at the microphone of FIFA, at the end of the meeting.

“If we have to lose a leg on the pitch, we will do it”

Thembi Kgatlana, South African striker

This performance is unexpected for the players of Desiree Ellis, the coach. The 2022 African champions, ahead of Morocco, Zambia and the dominant continental nation, Nigeria, were announced last in their group, made up of Sweden, 3rd in the FIFA rankings, Italy, 16th, and Argentina , 28th. Either very far ahead of the South African selection, only 54th.

This qualification also shows the constant progress of an emerging nation, five-time CAN finalist (1995, 2000, 2008, 2012, 2018), eliminated in the group stage at the 2019 World Cup in France, beaten by Botswana ( 150th nation in the world) from the qualifications for the 2021 Olympic Games, and now the reigning African champion and eighth-finalist in the biggest competition.

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But as since the launch of the World Cup, the Banyana Banyana are already announced losers against the Netherlands (4 hours, on the night of Saturday to Sunday, in Sydney), solid firsts ahead of the United States in group E. But they have shown, since the start of the tournament, that they have unsuspected resources, heart, and a unique desire. “If we have to lose a leg on the pitch, we will,” swore before the match against Italy, Thembi Kgatlana. The latter should, for sure, hold the same speech before the round of 16. For the same feat?

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