The game against Italy will be like a final – Desiree Ellis

Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis says the game against Italy will be like a final, as they must win to progress to the round of 16 in the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Nothing but a victory will get South Africa through to the next round when they face the Italians on Wednesday at the Wellington Regional Stadium. Kick off time is at 9am, SA time.

The African champions suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat in their opening game against Sweden and then squandered a two-goal lead to play a 2-2 draw against Argentina in their second Group G encounter.

Italy, who are ranked 16th in the world, will come into this crunch encounter on the back of a 5-0 defeat to Sweden and Desiree Ellis admitted that their opponents will be wounded.

“We know it’s going to be a difficult game; they are going to have to protect what they have, and we have to come for the three points,” Desiree Ellis said.

“It is do or die, nothing less than victory. We have really worked hard on a lot in the last couple of days, how we can hurt them. We can’t share that plan, but we have worked on something that we feel can get us the results.

“We also review, we have a post-match session after every match on what we could have done better, and we work on that a lot in training.

“Like I said, you can work on it at training and sometimes it is organizational that does not work on the day, in moments where we are not organized. But we must constantly work on that all the time to give them the opportunity to do better.”

Striker Hildah Magaia said the players are of the same mindset as the coach and winning against Italy is top priority.

“This is our last group stage match and obviously it is so important, so our talks as players are the same as the coaches,” she said.

“It’s about sharing information and doing what we can do to become victorious in the game.”

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