South Africa secured a 3-2 victory over Italy with a late goal, reaching the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup for the first time. The match was played in Wellington, New Zealand, with both teams vying for a spot in the round of 16.
Italy opened the scoring early on when Karabo Dhlamini tripped Chiara Beccari just inside the box, resulting in a penalty that was confidently converted by Arianna Caruso. However, South Africa equalized in the 32nd minute through an own goal from Benedetta Orsi, who did not check where her goalkeeper was before making a backpass.
South Africa took the lead for the first time in the 67th minute when Thembi Kgatlana’s neat inside pass found Hildah Magaia free behind the defensive line, and she swept it into the net. Caruso equalized for Italy seven minutes later from a corner when the ball caught her hip in a goalmouth scramble and cannoned into the net.
It looked as though Italy might hang on for the draw they needed, but in a frantic finale, Magaia’s pass found Kgatlana in the box and she smashed the ball into the net to secure second place in Group G behind Sweden. The result sent South Africa through to the last 16 of the tournament at the expense of their opponents.
South Africa will now face the Netherlands on Sunday in Sydney for a chance to progress even further in the tournament. It remains to be seen how far this talented team can go, but one thing is certain: they have already made history by reaching this stage of the competition.
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