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FIFAWWC: Netherlands knock out brave South Africa

THE Netherlands defeated South Africa 2-0 in the round of 16 of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in the early hours of today in Sydney, Australia.

The African champions put up a brave fight and had several chances to score but they were undone by a goal in each half by the 2019 World Cup runners-up.

Jill Roord and Lineth Beerensteyn struck for the Dutch as they set up a heavyweight all-European quarter-final clash with Spain, who thrashed Switzerland 5-1 in their round of 16 encounter yesterday.

But the Netherlands did not have it all their way in front of 40,000 fans at the Sydney Football Stadium and owed much to goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar for keeping a clean sheet against Banyana Banyana, especially in the first half.

Roord drew first blood for the Dutch after nine minutes against the South Africans, who were in the Women’s World Cup knockout rounds for the first time.

South Africa goalkeeper Kaylin Swart then had a costly howler, failing to stop a weak Lineth Beerensteyn effort in the 68th minute to give the Dutch a second goal and some breathing room.

“It wasn’t our best game but I’m happy to play my part in the clean sheet,” said goalkeeper Domselaar, who was named player of the match.

“I don’t know if it was my best (game) but I will be looking back with pride.”

South Africa, ranked 54th in the world by FIFA to the Netherlands’ ninth spot, were impressive in the first half and had numerous chances to score, almost all of them falling to their lively captain Thembi Kgatlana, who was repeatedly thwarted by the brilliant Domselaar.

South Africa coach Desiree Ellis said moments after the final whistle that she was proud of her team, who she felt should have won.

“We had a lot of chances, especially in the first half, to kill off the game,” she said.

“The chances we created should have put us out of sight. In the end the legs were not there to push for the duration of the game.

“Their goalkeeper getting player of the match shows how well we played. The whole of South Africa should be very proud.”

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