Desiree Ellis, head coach of Banyana Banyana, has outlined her strategy for the crucial FIFA Women’s World Cup match against Argentina on Friday.
The game will begin at 2:00 p.m. [South African time] at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
The three-time CAF Women’s Coach of the Year said that she will not alter from her customary formation to play on the counter-attack against the South American team. Ellis believes Banyana’s competence on the counter-attack has been a crucial component in their prior success.
“We know a lot of Argentina. We saw their game against Italy, which was very physical,” said Ellis. “Obviously, we have to move the ball around quicker.
“They do have very skilful players, but we know that a lot of our goals are scored on counter-attacks which is one of our strengths. If we could get that right, we will score goals tomorrow.
“The first thing is not to concede and be defensively sound. We were very happy in the Sweden match because, in some of the games, we conceded very early.
“Leading to the World Cup, we worked a lot on that in making sure that we stay compact and organised defensively for the first 15 to 20 minutes and launch from there.”
NOT GOING TO BE AN EASY GAME
The Banyana coach, 60, went on to say that facing Argentina will not be easy after losing their first game 2-1 to Sweden.
“We know is not only us who wants to win the game, but also Argentina needs to win the game as well. So, we have worked a lot on what we are good at, but we also worked a lot on what we are not good at, and that’s defending without the ball,” she added.
“But, it’s not going to be an easy game. We know Argentina is a very good side, as we saw that against Italy. However, we will play our own game and create chances and put them away, we will get positive results.”
Nonetheless, this is a game-or-die situation, and Banyana are fully aware of the stakes, as they cannot afford to disappoint their country.