15/04/2024

Jill Roord scored her fifth career Women's World Cup goal, breaking a tie with Lieke Martens for the most by a Dutch Women's player all-time. (Photo: X - @ESPNStatsInfo)

Four years after losing to the United States 2-0 in the 2019 World Cup final, the Netherlands have taken one step closer to winning the tournament using South Africa as a stepping stone on Sunday afternoon.

The energy and speed of South Africa were no match for the Dutch, who never looked like losing at Sydney Football Stadium – bar a couple of good opportunities.

Controlling a significant portion of possession during the 90 minutes, the elegance and skill of the Netherlands would see it gifted with a magnitude of opportunities in its attacking half, while injuries created havoc for South Africa.

Four years after coming on as a substitute against the United States in the World Cup final, it would take under ten minutes for Jill Roord to break the deadlock. Second in the race for the Golden Boot (with now four goals to her name), the former VfL Wolfsburg midfielder, who will join Manchester City for the new Women’s Super League season, headed the ball into the back of the net.

It was a simple finish for the 26-year-old, who scored twice in their previous match against Vietnam. It would also mark the sixth goal for the Netherlands within the opening 20 minutes, illustrating their supremacy from the kick-off.

The Netherlands would make it 2-0 at the start of the second half but the goal was disallowed by VAR moments later. It was a moment of luck for South Africa, who had switched off defensively and were systematically picked apart by their opponent’s midfielders and attackers.

In what would’ve been Lieke Martens’ fifth World Cup goal, Martens produced a great turn and finish on the back foot, although it was not to be.

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Precisely, ten minutes later, Martens was involved in the Dutch’s next goal. Orchestrating a through ball to Lineth Berensteyn, Berensteyn’s shot looked like a clear-cut save for South African keeper Kaylin Swart, but the ball, unfortunately, slipped through her hands, entering the back of the net and shattering any hope South Africa had of re-entering the game.

Aiming to create South African history, Thembi Kgatlana would give it her all throughout the match. Creating multiple chances for herself, the forward nearly helped guide the African country into the break with a 1-1 score.

However, Dutch goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar produced a magnitude of brilliant saves in a player-of-the-match performance. Only 20 years of age, the goalkeeper has been one of the breakout players of the campaign, with her best efforts against rivals the United States in the nation’s opening game of the World Cup.

Despite claiming the victory, the Netherlands will be without star midfielder Daniëlle van de Donk as she claimed her second yellow card of the World Cup.

The Netherlands will now have six days to get ready to face Spain.

The Netherlands will take on Spain at the Wellington Regional Stadium on Friday, August 11, at 11:00 AEST.

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