South Africa Coach Desiree Ellis says she her charges are ready to move on and prepare for their second group game after a stuttering start to their debut Women's World Cup (WWC) campaign in France on Saturday.
Bayana Bayana, making their debut at the tournament, took a surprising lead 1-0 in their opening Group B campaign against Spain, but two penalties and a third goal left the South Africans on the losing side.
Africa's Footballer of the Year, Thembi Kgatlana scored her debut WWC goal with a stunning right-footed strike on the 25th minute to stun the Spaniards and her side held their nerve throughout the first half.
Striker Thembi Kgatlana scored first with her Women's World Cup debut goal and South Africa's consolation
However, after the break, Spain maintained their pressure and it paid off , first with a penalty when captain Janine Van Wyk was adjudged by referee Maria Carvajal to have handled the ball in the area. Jennifer Hermoso converted the resultant penalty kick for the equaliser.
Spain benefitted from a second penalty kick on the 81st minute from Nothando Vilakazi’s late challenge which saw her receive a second yellow card. Hermoso again converted the spot kick to put Spain 2-1 up.
Eight minutes later, Lucia Garcia sealed victory with her first international goal when she rounded up South Africa's goalkeeper Andile Dlamini to score.
South Africa coach Desiree Ellis issues out instruction to her team in their game against Spain
Despite the disappointment, Coach Ellis said she was proud of her charges who fought hard and didn't show any glimpses of nervouness as first-timers.
"It is a disappointing result as it leaves us with no point and bottom in the group. However, we can be proud of our performance.
"Of course, if the game was played in one half, we would have won in the first half. We played well and the girls played to instruction. Unfortunately, we failed to convert our chances and got punished in the second half.
"I still am proud of the ladies and we are already putting the loss behind us. We will recover and play better in the second match," Coach Ellis said in a post match interview.
The heavy loss put South Africa bottom in Group B which has Spain lead, former champions Germany who beat China 1-0 in second place with the Steel Roses in third place.
Match Day Two for Group B will be on Thursday, when South Africa face China to revive their campaign
Results at a glance
Spain 3, South Africa 1
Germany 1, China 0
Team P W D L GF GA GD PTS
Spain 1 1 0 0 3 1 2 3
Germany 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 3
China 1 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0
South Africa 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0
Wednesday, June 12
Germany v Spain (4:00PM)
Thursday, June 13
South Africa v China (7:00PM)