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Banyana coach Ellis: China game is like a final for us

Desiree Ellis said she was expecting a much more relaxed performance from her chargers given that the nerves from their opening match against Spain would now be a thing of the past.

Members of Banyana Banyana training ahead of their World Cup clash against China. Picture: Twitter/@Banyana_Banyana

JOHANNESBURG - Banyana Banyana take on China in a must-win Women’s World Cup clash in Paris on Thursday night.

Both sides are coming off losses in their previous matches, with Banyana going down 3-1 to Spain and China losing out 1-0 to Germany.

Despite their loss to the Spaniards, Banyana gave a spirited performance against their much-fancied opponents and took the lead in the game through Thembi Kgatlana.

The wheels came off in the second half though, with South Africa on the receiving end of some harsh refereeing and VAR decisions.

A concern for Banyana would be that they only had 27% ball possession and had to face close to 30 shots at goal.

Ahead of the massive clash with China, coach Desiree Ellis said that the mood in the camp was very upbeat and that the players had taken responsibility in trying to improve for the game at the Parc de Princes.

“It’s a final for us and I think the players are really geared up for this, they are very focused, and they know what they need to do,” Ellis said.

Ellis said she was expecting a much more relaxed performance from her chargers given that the nerves from their opening match would now be a thing of the past.

“With the experience we have, along with the youthful exuberance, I think it’s a nice mix and a good balance. I think that they will go out there and do their best and the senior players that drove this team in qualifying will push the team again,” Ellis said.

A win for Banyana would take them level on points with Spain after they lost in their second match to Germany.

A loss, on the other hand, would spell the end of their maiden World Cup journey.

Kick off is at 9pm.

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