2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Updates: South Africa Joins Nigeria…

South Africa's Thembi Kgatlana celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates REUTERS/Molly Darlington

02 August 2023, updated…

South Africa has qualified for the round of 16 at the on-going 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup taking place in Australia and New Zealand. The Bayana Bayana defeated Italy 3 – 2 in their last Group G match to leapfrog the Europeans who were second-placed before the encounter.

Italy had scored the first goal via a penalty in the 11th minute of the first half. However, the Europeans gifted the Africans an equalizer in the 32nd minute, when Benedetta Orsi misplaced a back pass to her goalkeeper which resulted in an own goal. South Africa took the lead in the 67th minute through a well-worked goal finished off by Hildah Magaia. In the 74th minute, Arianna Caruso scored her second goal of the match to make it 2 – 2, putting Italy on the verge of qualification and South Africa staring elimination in the face. However, the Bayana Bayana rose to the occasion, with skipper Thembi Kgatlana netting the winner in the 92nd minute.

In the other match which was played simultaneously in the group, group leaders, Sweden maintained a perfect record with a 2 – 0 victory over bottom team, Argentina.

With this victory, South Africa joins Nigeria to qualify for the next round and are scheduled to meet the Netherlands on Sunday, August  6, 2023.


It is decision day for African champions, South Africa at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup taking place in Australia and New Zealand, as they battle to remain in the tournament and advance to the next round to join Nigeria. Bayana Bayana are presently in third spot in their group and will have to displace at least the immediate team above them to qualify for the next round of the competition.

Of the four countries representing the continent of Africa, one has been eliminated from the tournament, another has qualified for the next round, while the fate of Morocco and South Africa hangs in the balance. Debutants, Zambia lost their first two matches in Group C to group winners, Japan and runners up, Spain by the same score line of 5 – 0. However, in their final group match, the Copper Queens scored their first ever goal at the World Cup and eventually recorded their first ever victory by beating Costa Rica 3 – 1 to finish third in the group.

In Group B, former African champions, Nigeria played a goalless draw with Republic of Ireland in their final group game to secure second spot and qualify for the next round, where they are set to face Group D winners, England. The Super Falcons had held Olympic champions, Canada to a barren draw in their first match, before stunning co-host Australia 3 – 2 in their second game.

Argentina v South Africa – Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand – July 28, 2023 South Africa’s Linda Motlhalo celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates REUTERS/Molly Darlington

To advance to the next round, the South Africans have a straight forward task in their final game: beat Italy. Anything less, means elimination from the tournament. The African champions are in third spot with a solitary point from the second match, in which they threw a two-goal lead away against Argentina to tie the game at 2 – 2. Bayana Bayana had lost their opening game 2 – 1 to European powerhouse Sweden, who also beat Italy 5 – 0 in their second match to sit atop Group G with six points.

Italy had won their first game over Argentina by a lone goal and thus they have three points from two games. While Italy can progress by avoiding defeat against South Africa, barring Argentina springing a surprise against Sweden, which could complicate issues; South Africa must beat Italy to advance, with the hope that Albiceleste does not pull an upset by defeating Sweden.

July 28, 2023 Argentina’s Yamila Rodriguez in action with South Africa’s Linda Motlhalo REUTERS/Molly Darlington

Both South Africa and Argentina presently have a single point from their 2 – 2 draw; however, the South Americans are at the bottom of the group because they have scored less goal than the Africans. South Africa vs Italy comes up on August 2, 2023 at 08:00 CET. It would be played simultaneously with the Sweden vs Argentina match.

For Morocco in Group H, the situation is harder, even though they have recorded a win in the tournament. The North Africans beat South Korea by a lone goal in their second match. However, they fell 6 – 0 to former world champions, Germany in their first match. The Atlas Lionesses have a daunting task against group leaders, Colombia who stunned Germany 2 – 1 in their second match. The South Americans have six points, having won their first match 2 – 0 against South Korea.

Group H – South Korea v Morocco – Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide, Australia – July 30, 2023 Morocco players celebrate after the match REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

With already a huge deficit from the loss against Germany, it is hard to imagine Morocco progressing to the next round, even if they succeed in causing an upset against Colombia. They will end up with six points with Colombia, while Germany would be expected to beat South Korea and tally the same number of points.

In the scenario that the three teams do end with three points each, it will come down to goals difference to determine who advances. However, if South Korea causes an upset against the Germans, then a draw would be enough for Morocco to advance. Morocco vs Colombia comes up on August 3, 2023 at 11:00 CET. It would be played simultaneously with the Germany vs South Korea match.

*Cover image: South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates REUTERS/Molly Darlington

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