South Africa coach Desiree Ellis knows her team still has fight left. Photo: Alessandra Tarantino/AP Photo

MONTPELLIER – South Africa will face their biggest test yet at the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup on Monday when they take on Germany at the Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier, France, in their final Group B match (start 6pm).

This will be the first-ever meeting between the two nations in any competition. Germany are ranked No 2 in the world while South Africa are down in 49th position.

The Europeans have never missed a World Cup and are making their seventh appearance. They have been to three finals, lifting the trophy twice.

South Africa come into the match following two losses, against Spain and China – conceding four goals in the process (3-1 and 1-0).

Germany have already booked their spot in the last 16 after back-to-back wins against China and Spain and have not conceded any goals.

Banyana Banyana are not out definitely of the World Cup as yet and will be hoping for more positive results after putting up two brave performances so far in the tournament.

Coach Desiree Ellis’s charges cannot finish in the top two in Group B, but will have to win against the Germans to have any hopes of being one of the best third-placed teams – and will also be relying on the result of the other group match between Spain and China.

With two clean sheets in their two previous games, the Germans are unbeaten in 14 matches – 12 wins and two draws – since a 3-0 loss to France in 2018.

The Europeans have never lost to an African side in the Women’s World Cup, winning 4-0 and 1-0 against Nigeria in 1991 and 2011, and beating Ivory Coast 10-0 in 2015.

“We are a team that has a lot of belief, that always look up to the toughest challenges put ahead of us. 

"We call this another final because we come up against a team that has loads of experience in the world of women’s football," said Ellis on Sunday. 

"They are tactically superior and are a very structured team that can hurt you if you are not careful. Mathematically we are still in with a chance, and if things go our way who knows, we may just sneak into the next round,” said Ellis.

“With that in mind, we believe it can be done. I have told the players that they deserve something from this tournament after putting in good performances in the previous two matches.

"But it will take a lot of hard work as Germany are not an easy team to beat. However, we are confident."

South Africa will have to replicate the resilience, passion, determination, confidence and bravery they displayed at the 2018 Women’s Afcon in Ghana if they are to grab their first win in the tournament and hope they can sneak in through the back door.

The venue in Montpellier has in the past been a happy hunting ground for Germany – in the 1998 World Cup their men’s team defeated Iran 2-0 and Mexico 2-1.

South Africa are suffering key injuries with Thembi Kgatlana – who scored their only goal so far – captain Janine van Wyk, Jermaine Seoposenwe and Linda Motlhalo all trying to recover from knocks. 

African News Agency (ANA)