Two penalties scored in the second-half by Jenni Hemoso – who was also player of the match – enabled Spain to recover from a goal down to beat South Africa 3-1 in their opening game on Saturday at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Thembi Kgatlana put South Africa ahead after 25 minutes, but Hermoso – who plays for Atletico Madrid – scored twice from the spot as Spain fought back.
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Nothando Vilakazi was sent off for the foul that provoked the second penalty, with Spain’s Lucia Garcia then sealing the 3-1 victory a minute from time.
Spain finally secured their first Women’s World Cup win after suffering a lot against South Africa. In the first half the team had the possession but struggled to create clear-cut chances. But substitutes Bonmati, Garcia and Nahikari changed the game after the break.
After the game, Jorge Vilda, Spain’s coach, said: ‘There are things that can be improved. I think the players felt the pressure of the World Cup, and trying to get the first win, in the first half. But you will see that from a lot of teams here. We made some tactical changes that made the difference, and the players’ mentality changed – that was key today.’
Spain are now level on points at the top of Group B with two-time former champions Germany, who launched their campaign with a 1-0 victory over 1999 finalists China.
Spain’s next match is against Germany on 12 June. They then play China on 17 June.
FIFA Women’s World Cup Groups:
- Group A: France, South Korea, Norway, Nigeria
- Group B: Germany, China, Spain, South Africa
- Group C: Australia, Italy, Brazil, Jamaica
- Group D: England, Scotland, Argentina, Japan
- Group E: Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, Netherlands
- Group F: USA, Thailand, Chile, Sweden
Key dates for the FIFA Women’s World Cup:
- 20 June: final group fixtures
- 22-25 June: round of 16
- 27-29 June: quarter-finals
- 2-3 July: semi-finals
- 7 July: Final at the Stade de Lyon
- For the full fixture list see fifa.com