South African head coach David Notoane says it was a difficult, exciting and emotional game as his team lost 4-3 to France at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.
Despite taking the lead three teams, South Africa were unable to hold on for an important victory, and instead saw France grab a stoppage time winner.
The result means Notoane’s team have one foot out the door at the competition, and only a two-goal win over Mexico, and Japan beating France in the last round of games, could see South Africa sneak into the knockout rounds.
“A difficult game, exciting game, emotional game,” Notoane said at the post match presser.
“We went for it. They also came for it. And I think at the end, it was a game of margins of error. You know, we made more mistakes in our defensive actions than France, they scored four, we scored three.
“But I’m proud of the boys, for the effort, for the commitment, for the quality of the play of the football that we are capable of.
“We came with attacking intent. And we gave attacking intention, as you see, so ja, sad as it is, last one to go, difficult one. But yeah, that’s football. What more can we say?”
Notoane also explained the different approach, a far cry from the defensive performance in the opening 1-0 loss to Japan.
“I think I said it before that the challenges that were before us when we faced Japan were different, we only had three days to prepare,” Notoane explained.
“We’d been seven days without training almost. So we decided to go with an approach against Japan that will allow us to have this kind of performance in terms of energy, so that we didn’t risk burning ourselves out against Japan, then when we come to play the game against France now we’ll be left with nothing in our reserves.
“Of course, we also have Mexico. So it was primarily to manage our energy levels. and hoping to take of course a draw, which was never to be, so that then we could in the next two games give the kind of performance as you saw today, and against Mexico, because we are very attack minded team in general.”