Group B: Brazil 4 - 1 South Africa (BRA: Jheniffer 50', Júlia 51' (Pen), Amanda 54', Maria Eduarda 60'; RSA: Zethembiso Vilakazi 53')
The Bantwana were already ruled out of a quarterfinal spot, so there wasn't much at stake for them. However, Brazil coach Luizao knew his team had to win handsomely, and then hope that either Japan or Mexico ended up on the losing side.
South Africa's Simphiwe Dludlu‘s deliberate tactics of playing the long ball over the defenders virtually enticed the Brazilians more than once in the first half at the Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Mayara put forward a brave save, thwarting Chelsea Daniels' efforts from a long ball played over the Brazilian defense for the third successive time. At the other end, South African goalkeeper Kay-Dee Windvogel dived full length to her left to pull off an excellent save to deny Julia Beatriz’s exceptional strike.
The second half witnessed a dramatic 10-minute window that produced five quick goals. Jheniffer robbed the ball from Sibulele Holweni and unleashed a ferocious long-range strike which flew past the leaping South African shot stopper Windvogel to score her first goal of the tournament.
An inviting cross from the right flank got parried away by Windvogel. The free ball then fell on Julia‘s path whose fierce strike got blocked by the hand of Miche Minnies, who promptly received a red card in the 51st minute. Julia blasted the spot-kick towards the left corner for Brazil's second goal.
Brazil’s skipper Isadora held on to a back pass from Vitória Bruna a bit longer, allowing Mamelodi Sundowns Zethembiso Vilakazi to swoop in and rob the ball off Isadora‘s feet. Vilakazi then went around keeper Mayara to score South Africa's first goal of the tournament.
A through ball to Isabela ended with a right-footed strike which was well saved by Windvogel. Unfortunately for her, however, Santos FC’s Amanda cleaned up the rebound to slam in their side’s third goal.
Two short passes between Jheniffer and Amanda ended up with Amanda laying up the ball to Maria Eduarda. The ball lodged into the right corner of the goal to make it 4-1 from Eduarda's pinpoint strike.
South Africa continued to attack though, with Thubelihle Shamase‘s cross finding Chelsea Daniels yet again, and her booming strike rattled the crossbar. Daniels concealed her face in profound disappointment.
The Seleção enjoyed 60% of the ball possession and had a startling 16 efforts on target from their 23 attempts. South Africa struck seven of their 18 attempts on the mark, with one smacking the woodwork.
Even though Brazil committed 16 fouls as to South Africa’s 12, German referee Riem Hussein pulled out three yellow cards and a direct red card on the African nation, with Brazil receiving just one on their side.
The Player of the Match award went to Maria Eduarda of Brazil.
Standings Group B: Japan 5 points, Mexico 5, Brazil 4, South Africa 1.
Japan and Mexico advance to the knockouts.Published 25 Nov 2018, 11:16 IST