Banyana add Norway to their WC preparations

Banyana Banyana will conclude their 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup preparations with a clash against Norway. The international friendly match will take place on Sunday, 2 June at Stade Moulonguet in Amiens, France. Kickoff is at 20h00.

This will be Banyana Banyana’s final match before the start of the tournament five days later (from 7 June to 7 July) in France. Desiree Ellis’ charges will open their campaign against Spain on the 8th of June.

Norway has been ever-present in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and has never missed a tournament since 1991 – they were champions in 1995. This will be their 8th appearance.

They also won gold at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games but did not qualify for the last two editions in London 2012 and Rio 2016. Norway were crowned champions of the UEFA Women’s Championship in 1987 and 1993.

They are currently ranked 12th in the world and sixth in UEFA, while Banyana Banyana are placed 49th in the world and third on the continent. Norway are the reigning champions of the Algarve Cup played annually in Portugal.

Since the beginning of 2019, the Europeans have played six games, winning four (vs Scotland, Denmark, China PR and Poland) and losing two (vs Canada and New Zealand).

“We could not have asked for better preparations looking at our programme – and now to add Norway to the mix is just great. They are a great team, and their record speak volumes – world champs in 1995, UEFA winners in 1987 and 1983 as well as Olympic gold in 2000 – shows they are no pushovers and will give us the final test before we enter the biggest stage of our careers, so this has really come at a very good time,” said Ellis.

“Nine top quality opposition teams ahead of our maiden world cup tournament? This is exactly what we needed. The clash against Norway is the final fixture before we kickoff our first match of the competition, so everything has to go according to plan. We don’t want a situation where say we are lacking here or there, and there is no time to work on those – with this encounter we will be able to see just how far we are and where we need to fix, just in time for the World Cup.”

This will be the first time South Africa faces Norway. That match will be Banyana Banyana’s 9th of the year against top class opposition as they prepare for the World Cup – they have taken on Sweden, the Netherlands, Korea DPR, Czech Republic, Finland twice and more recently Jamaica.

On Monday 6 May they depart for the USA to face the host nation in an international friendly match, scheduled for Sunday, 12 May at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The USA will perhaps be their toughest match to date, and this will be the second meeting the two nations.