The South Africans have had a roller-coaster of a global showpiece campaign. In the opener against Spain, Banyana held their own by taking a surprise lead into the break, thanks to an audacious strike from golden girl Thembi Kgatlana.
The wheels, however, did come off in the second half as they conceded three goals. In the next round of matches in Group B on Thursday the South Africans were in a do-or-die situation as they needed something from their encounter against China.
However, it wasn’t to be - narrowly losing by 1-0 thanks to a goal from Yi Ling later in the first half. That result ensured Banyana remained rooted at the bottom without a point in Group B and with only one game left to conclude the group stage.
“Everybody stood up, though. And that is what is so amazing about this group of players because no matter what, they go into the field and give their all,” Ellis said. “The game against China was a fantastic effort and it would have been nice if we got the result along with the performance. But we can be very proud of this group. No matter who starts or who comes off the bench, they give their all. We’ve shown at the World Cup that we didn’t come just to make up numbers, but to compete.”