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Dutch down South Africans, 2-0

Netherlands' coach Andries Jonker and his team, the Netherlands are making headway in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup at the Aotea Centre in Auckland. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST / AFP)

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP)–The Netherlands secured a spot in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals by ending South Africa’s historic run with a 2-0 win in Sydney on Sunday, ahead of a blockbuster last-16 showdown between holder the United States and Sweden.

The Dutch, runners-up in 2019, will now face Spain in the last eight but they suffered some anxious moments in front of 40,000 fans in Sydney and had goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar to thank for making several important saves in the first half.

Jill Roord scored after nine minutes to put the Dutch on their way against a team that sits 45 places below them in the world rankings and was featuring in the knockout rounds for the first time.

South Africa goalkeeper Kaylin Swart then made a mess of an innocuous Lineth Beerensteyn shot midway through the second half to gift the Dutch a second.

The African champions will be kicking themselves after having numerous chances in the opening 45 minutes, almost all of them falling to their livewire captain Thembi Kgatlana.

Midfielder Roord nodded in the opener from close range following a corner for her fourth goal of the tournament.

The Netherlands then stood firm before adding its second goal on 68 minutes when Swart’s blunder let Beerensteyn’s tame effort slip through her hands.

“Daphne saved us a few times and I was happy to lead 1-0 at half-time,” said Dutch coach Andries Jonker.

“We did much better in the second half and had much more control of the game.

“We deserved to score again and in the end deserved to win.”

His team will now return to New Zealand for Friday’s last-eight game in Wellington against Spain, which outclassed Switzerland 5-1 on Saturday.

South Africa coach Desiree Ellis was proud but felt her side 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.”

The USA go into its meeting with Sweden in Melbourne, which kicks off at 0900 GMT, looking to improve on some lacklustre performances in the group stage as it chases an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title.

After Germany’s shock group-phase exit, the top-rated Americans and Sweden, third on the FIFA list, are the two highest-ranked teams left standing.

The winner will go through to a quarterfinal against Japan in Auckland on Friday.

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