Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
The Netherlands have overcome a strong display from South Africa in Sydney to ensure their passage to the quarter-final stage and a date with Spain next week in Wellington.
Having impressed in topping Group E, the Dutch were favoured to see off a South Africa side making their knockout stage debut at a FIFA Women’s World Cup™.
They duly took the lead within 10 minutes, when Jill Roord headed in from close range following a corner to make it four goals in four matches for the midfielder.
South Africa however responded strongly, attacking directly and with pace as they searched for a way back into the tie. Thembi Kgatlana with the pick of the chances when played through on goal, only to be denied by an excellent sprawling save by Daphne Van Domselaar in the Dutch goal.
Banyana Banyana dreams of a comeback however were dealt a fatal blow with a little over twenty minutes remaining. Lineth Beerensteyn found space in the inside left channel and her solid strike slipped through the grasp of Kaylin Swart and bounced agonisingly over the line.
For the Dutch, they now march on to the quarters, to take on a Spain side in find fettle following their thumping victory over Switzerland.
Netherlands: 2 (Jill ROORD 9′, Lineth BEERENSTEYN 68′)
South Africa: 0
The shocks have continued at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ as four time champions the United States of America were eliminated on penalties by Sweden in Melbourne.
Chasing an unprecedented three World Cup triumphs in a row, the US dominated possession for most of the 120 minutes, controlling the ball and territory but continually struggling to breach the Swedish defence.
21-7 was the final tally for attempts on goal in the Americans favour and the Swedes were indebted to goalkeeper Zecira Musovic for producing a number of outstanding saves to keep the scores level.
As 120 minutes came and went, it was down to a penalty shoot-out to determine who would face Japan in the last eight.
Despite a miss from Megan Rapinoe, Sophia Smith had the chance to win it for the States but her effort clipped the post.
A subsequent miss from Kelley O’Hara gave Lina Hurtig the chance to make history and despite her effort being initially saved by Alyssa Naeher, the ball deflected back over the keeper and – following a nervous VAR check – was deemed to have crossed the goal line by the barest of margins.
An incredible victory for Sweden, who go on to face Japan in Auckland, whilst the USA suffer their earliest ever exit at a FIFA Women’s World Cup™.
Sweden: 0 (5)
USA: 0 (4)