Banyana Banyana draw China, Germany and Spain in World Cup draw
Banyana Banyana were grouped with Germany, China and Spain in the 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup draw in Paris on Saturday night.
The South African women's national team, who qualified for France 2019 as last weekend's finalists in the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations (Awcon), will have their work cut out progressing past the group stage of their first World Cup.
Germany, the 2003 and 2007 world champions, are the powerhouse team in Group B.
Spain are playing in just their second tournament, having qualified for Canada 2015. China are playing in their sixth World Cup, their best finish coming as runners-up in 1999.
Coach Desiree Ellis's women may have never competed in a World Cup, but do have a yardstick for their abilities on a global stage from their appearances at the last two Olympics, at London 2012 and Rio 2016.
They exited both in the first round, but showed signs of progression from Great Britain to Brazil four years later.
In 2012 under Joseph Mkhonza South Africa lost 4-1 against Sweden and 3-0 against Canada, but recovered to a creditable 0-0 draw against Japan, that year's 2-1 finalist losers against the USA.
In 2016 Banyana, under Vera Pauw, lost 2-1 against eventual losing finalists Sweden, and 2-0 against China, then drew 0-0 against fourth-placed finishers Brazil.
SA reached the Women's World Cup with one of their most convincing performances at an Awcon, where they lost on penalties against 10-time winners Nigeria in last Saturday's final.
Banyana had beaten Nigeria 1-0 in the group stage, where they thrashed Equatorial Guinea 7-1 and drew 1-1 against Zambia. They beat Mali 2-0 in the semifinals.
2019 Women's World Cup draw -
Group A: France, South Korea, Norway, Nigeria
Group B: Germany, China, Spain, South Africa
Group C: Australia, Italy, Brazil, Jamaica
Group D: England, Scotland, Argentina, Japan
Group E: Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, Netherlands
Group F: USA, Thailand, Chile, Sweden
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