Banyana need a miracle to overpower Germany

Kaylin Swart of South Africa competes for the ball with Lou Jiahui of China during the 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup. It is crunch time for South Africa.
Kaylin Swart of South Africa competes for the ball with Lou Jiahui of China during the 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup. It is crunch time for South Africa.
Image: Getty Images / Zhizhao Wu

"We tried what we could, but it was not meant to be."

This is how Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Kaylin Swart summed up what was their maiden World Cup in France.

Though they still have a game to spare in Group B, Banyana's chances of qualifying for the knockout phase are hanging by a very thin thread after losing their first two pool matches against Spain (3-1) and China (1-0).

Ranked 49th in the Fifa rankings, SA wrap up their pool campaign against Germany, who are ranked second behind the US in the world, at La Mosson Stadium in Montpellier (6pm SA time) tomorrow.

Realistically, only a miracle can see Banyana overcome Germany. A nearly improbable victory for SA would put them on three points and possibly progress to the next stage as one of the four best third-placed finishers across all the six groups.

However, the progression to the last 16 can only happen if Banyana keep a clean sheet and score more than three goals because they are at the bottom of Group B on zero points. Germany top the pool with six points, while Spain (by goal difference) and China are on three points.

"We tried what we could, but it was not meant to be. We really tried and we are proud of our attempt in this World Cup," said Swart, who made a number of crucial saves against China on Thursday.

The 24-year-old goalkeeper is no stranger to the international showpiece, having played in the Under-17 World Cup with Bantwana in 2010.

"It was overwhelming," said the Port Elizabeth-born shot-stopper about her second World Cup.

Swart was an unused substitute in Banyana's opener against Spain, with Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies' Andile Dlamini getting the nod. It remains to be seen who coach Desiree Ellis prefers against Germany.

Swart is on the books of Des Moines Menace, a team based in Des Moines, Iowa, in the US.

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