South Africa and Italy will partake in a mouthwatering Group G clash in Wellington on Wednesday, with the final qualification spot for a place in the round-of-sixteen still up for grabs. Sweden have already confirmed their participation in the knockout rounds and look likely to face the United States on August 7 – but it’s not yet known who will join them!
Italy currently occupy the second qualification spot, as le Azzurre picked up three points with their slender win against Argentina on Matchday One. Milena Bertolini’s side will feel confident that they can retain that spot, despite being utterly thrashed by Sweden last time out.
South Africa need three points if they’re to stand any chance of knocking Italy off their perch, having registered just a point so far from their opening two games. The Banyana Banyana suffered a narrow defeat to Sweden in their opening match, but were held to a draw after Argentina mustered a superb second-half comeback in Dunedin.
Refiloe Jane is expected to return to the starting eleven for South Africa despite being stretchered off in their last match, as it’s been confirmed that the captain merely rolled her ankle. The Banyana Banyana will be without Kholosa Biyana though, with the midfielder suspended after picking up two yellow cards across the two opening matches.
Milena Bertolini will have a fully fit squad to choose from for this crunch tie in Group G, and it’ll be interesting to see whether she sticks or twists after that hefty defeat against Sweden.
South Africa: Swart; Ramalepe, Mbane, Gamede, Dhlamini; Magaia, Jane, Seoposenwe, Motlhalo; Kgadiete, Kgatlana
Italy: Durante; Lenzini, Linari, Boattin, Salvai; Caruso, Dragoni, Giugliano; Giacinti, Bonansea, Girelli