Argentina’s Women’s National Team didn’t have the best debut in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023, where it is part of Group G along with Sweden, Italy and South Africa. After a closely fought 1-0 loss against the Italians at Auckland, the team coached by Germán Portanova will have another chance to get on track when they face South Africa at 9 p.m. on Thursday.
The Argentine team has become a regular of Women’s World Cups, playing now in its fourth tournament, but they’re yet to achieve an important milestone: winning a World Cup game. In that regard, Portanova wasn’t shy about their objective going into the game.
“We are going to look for it, but we have to play an intelligent game. An end-to-end [match] is not good for us, but we will go without fear”, said the coach at the press conference prior to the match.
His words were echoed by Mariana Larroquette, Argentina’s women’s team all-time top scorer, who’s still chasing her first World Cup goal. “Being World Cup regulars is historic, winning is historic, competing as we are now is historic. The moment we are living today is historic so, whatever happens, it will be history and we hope it will be in the best way: winning a game, be it against South Africa or Sweden.”
She was also thankful of the support shown by the Argentine public, who followed the Albiceleste’s debut despite the match being played Monday at 3 a.m. Argentina time. “The people who support the women’s team will wake up at any time and they let us. I only have words of thanks for all the positive messages we’ve received.”
The match is bound to be a crucial one for the outcome of Group G, as South Africa also struggled in its debut, losing 2-1 to Sweden. This is South Africa’s second World Cup appearance, but just like Argentina they’re yet to win a game in the four games they’ve played. In 2022, South Africa won the African Cup.
The match will be played at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, a city located about 1,400 kilometers from Auckland in Otago Bay, on the South Island of New Zealand. Due to the area’s cold weather, this is the country’s only completely roofed stadium, which earned it the nickname “The Greenhouse”. It has a seating capacity of 28,744.
The game can be seen for free in Argentina, with the TV Pública transmission starting at 9 p.m. DSports will also be showing the game, but that requires a previous subscription.