Cape Town - Banyana Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis said she is proud of her players despite surrendering an early lead to lose 3-1 to Spain in their opening Group B clash at the Stade Oceane in Le Havre on Saturday.
South Africa next face China on Thursday, June 13 - a fixture Ellis says is a must win as Banyana Banyana find themselves at the bottom of the group.
Forward Thembi Kgatlana put the World Cup debutants in the lead in the 25th minute before the Europeans rallied back in the second half to score three goals - with the aid of two penalties - to win the game.
"Very proud of the team they put in a great performance," Ellis said. "We said they will never give up and that's exactly what they did.
"We didn't get the result but we're very happy with the performance. We took the game to Spain at times and if we took our chances it could have ended differently.
"It was a good performance and I think everyone back home can be very proud of this team.
South Africa will be without the services of defender Nothando Vilakazi after she was sent off when receiving two bookings in the opening game.
Kick-off is at 21:00.