The Netherlands have advanced to the quarter-finals of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup after overcoming a lively South Africa 2-0 at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney, Australia on Sunday.
Goals either side of the half from Jill Roord and Lineth Beerensteyn were enough to overcome a Banyana Banyana side, who always looked dangerous, but could not convert that threat into a goal.
The Group D winners began on the front foot as Kaylin Swart was forced into a good save after Esmee Brugts hit a curler outside the penalty area.
The Banyana Banyana’s goalkeeper could do nothing about what happened after the resulting corner, however – Jill Roord was in the right place to knock the ball in from close distance, and OranjeLeeuwinnen took the lead.
The goal for Roord meant she became the top all-time scorer for the Netherlands in the FIFA Women’s World Cup with five goals, moving one clear of Lieke Martens-Van Leer (4).
Injury blows to Jermaine Seoposenwe and Bambanani Mbani forced Desiree Ellis to shuffle the deck earlier than she would have liked.
Nonetheless, they grew into the game as the half wore on, and were a constant threat in transition.
Their best opportunities of the half came through the pace of Thembi Kgatlana, who forced Daphne van Domselaar into several saves.
The break meant that the Dutch could regroup and regain a modicum of control over proceedings.
They thought they had doubled their lead after a wonderful turn and finish from Lieke Martens, but a VAR review found that Victoria Pelova was offside in the build-up.
They eventually did get their second, Lineth Beerensteyn scoring her second FIFA Women’s World Cup goal after a calamitous error from Swart.
South Africa have shown throughout the tournament that they are not a team to sit back wondering and, true to their identity, they kept attacking.
Van Domselaar had to make her best save of the game to retain her side’s two goal advantage after Linda Motlhalo’s effort from the edge of the penalty area.
A yellow card to Danielle van de Donk meant that the Dutch didn’t have it all their own way – she will be suspended for their next match.
In the end though, the France 2019 finalists were too strong, and deservedly advanced to the next round – although not without a number of scares.
They will take on Spain in Wellington on Friday.
Desiree Ellis, South Africa coach told newsmen after the match that she was very proud of her team despite the loss, adding that they gave their best and played according to instructions.
“Very proud of these players. They gave their all today. They know that they were in the game.
“That’s what we said – we were going to come here and put up a fight and put in a game… South Africa can be very proud of this team,” she said.
Andries Jonker, Netherlands coach expressed joy after the match, admitting however that the team was lucky not to have been punished after committing so many errors during the game.
Jonker singled out goalkeeper Van Domselaar for making crucial saves which kept the team in the game, saying that she deserved her player-of-the-match award.
“We gave the ball away so often, then they were dangerous, but luckily we have a top keeper.
“Today she (Van Domselaar) really showed that she is a top talent. We knew that, but it is always nice when it is confirmed,” he said.