Cape Town - Amajita's progress to the knockout round of the Under-20 Soccer World Cup suffered a setback after losing 2-0 against Italy on Wednesday.
Thabo Senong's charges were out to redeem themselves after a narrow 2-1 loss to Japan in their opening match, but it was not to be as their European opponents held firm throughout the 90 minutes.
Ricarrdo Orsolini opened the scoring for the Azzurrini through a penalty in the first half while Andrea Favilli cemented the victory in the 57th minute.
Giuseppe Scalera's cross found Favilli and the striker made no mistake with a powerful header.
South Africa still have one match to play - against Uruguay on Saturday, May 27 - and a victory could see them through to the next stage of the tournament.
However, Amajita will need to score at least three goals, keep a clean sheet and hope other results in the competition go their way in order to have any chance of qualification.
Kick-off is at 13:00 (SA time).