South Africa under-20 coach Thabo Senong was disappointed with the team's performance against Italy. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - Thabo Senong has admitted that it will take nothing but luck for his side to progress to the last 16 of the Fifa Under-20 World Cup after they suffered their second Group D defeat in Suwon, South Korea on Wednesday.

Goals by Riccardo Orsolini and Andrea Favilli in either half were enough to see Italy secure their first win of the tournament after having gone down 1-0 in their first match against Uruguay three days before their encounter against South Africa’s national Under-20 side (Amajita).

According to the rules of the tournament, only four best third-placed finishers of the six groups participating in this global showpiece will automatically join the 12 teams that qualify for the last 16 round by finishing first or second intheir respective groups.

And, though Amajita are yet to register their first win of this World Cup, having suffered a 2-1 defeat to Japan in their opener, coach Senong said he is hoping his side would give a final solid performance when they conclude their group phase assignments with a clash against Uruguay on Saturday.

“We are disappointed as we wanted to win and that did not happen,” Senong said.

“We conceded a penalty. That put us under pressured, and we couldn’t find an equaliser going into the break. In the second period, lapses of concentration got to us and we conceded another goal from a throw-in.

“We are not too worried about what will happen in the knockout stages, though,” Senong added.

“Our focus now is on our next game - against Uruguay. Even if we win that match, we still have to rely on what will happen in the other groups in terms of us going through. We just need to give it our all in the last game and hopefully luck will be on our side.”

Senong, however, admitted that his side didn’t give it their all in their clash against the Italians, adding that they were too slow to get the ball up front.

Asked why that was the case, Senong said: “We wanted to play a quick passing game but we were too slow.

“We failed to produce the type of play (we wanted) each time we had the ball.

“We tried to stage a comeback in the second half, but it was too little, too late.”

The Star

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