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Women's World Cup

South Africa coach Desiree Ellis explains shocking first half display against Norway

08:21 BST 04/06/2019
South Africa women - Banyana
Despite ending their preparation on a disappointing note, the coach is pleased with her side's second half showing against Norway

South Africa women's coach Desiree Ellis insisted she would take plenty of positives into their Women's World Cup campaign despite her team's heavy loss to Norway.

Banyana Banyana suffered a 7-2 defeat in a friendly against the Europeans in Amiens on Monday, with the Southern Africans ending their buildup on a disappointing note.

Prior to the contest, the Africans failed to arrive at Stade Moulonguet after being caught up in heavy traffic, delaying the tie for almost two hours, which partly cost them.

Despite the result, the coach said their better second-half performance would be a major morale-boost ahead of their opener against Spain.

“It was not a good day in the office‚ but there were a few circumstances leading up to that,” Ellis told the media.

“A trip [to Amiens] that should have taken one-and-a-half hours took way more than that. We left at 17h00 and got there at 20h45. The game started at 21h15 so everything was rushed.

“Yet, we could have still done better. We should have done our tasks better. Some of the goals we conceded were really poor. We spoke about who the danger players were going to be‚ but we didn’t pick them up. We were very loose at times‚ not tracking players.

“On the plus side we scored two really good goals‚ but we still have to look at ourselves. We spoke about minimising the mistakes and there were too many."

In the opening 45 minutes, Banyana were trailing the 1995 champions 5-0 - a shock lead inspired by a brace each from Liza Karlseng Utland and Isabell Herlovsen. 

Ellis lamented her side's poor start to the high-profile encounter, which she hopes they will improve upon before their opener against Spain.

“The first 20 minutes were terrible‚ we didn’t do justice to ourselves. We took a look at ourselves at half-time‚ we came out spirited and on top of scoring two goals‚ we had other chances. We put up a big fight in the second half.

“We really have to start better‚ there are too many times that we lose the game in the first 30 minutes. We came back and we scored goals‚ but we are so far behind that we can’t catch up. We need to be a bit more concentrated.

“We will have a look at the footage and we really need to be critical about what we could have done better‚ and in that, I speak about everyone. And call each other out‚ because this is the Women's World Cup we are talking about.

”We always talk about helping each other on the field and I thought that we did not do that. The player on the ball did not have support so many times. We have done a lot of exercises to improve on that and when we did do that we created some really good opportunities.”

“At half-time‚ when they walked in‚ all their heads were down. In the second half we were better‚ our support‚ tackling‚ defending and forays into the final third were all better. That spirited second half will be a morale-booster.

“Coming back like that in the second half shows we have guts and character‚ but we have to sustain that for the full 90 minutes.”

South Africa will hope for a positive Women's World Cup debut when they take on the Spaniards at Stade Océane on June 8.