An early goal and a second half howler ended South Africa’s World Cup dreams on Sunday as Banyana Banyana were beaten 2-0 by the Netherlands in their last-16 tie in Sydney.
Jill Roord had the Dutch ahead after nine minutes and a mistake by goalkeeper Kaylin Swart gifted them a second, scored by Lineth Beerensteyn with some 22 minutes remaining.
It was an efficient performance by the Dutch, who now meet Spain in Friday’s quarterfinal, although Thembi Kgatlana had several chances for a South African goal.
Banyana were effectively out played but leave the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, having taken their game to new heights and achieved beyond expectation.
It took six minutes before South Africa had the first effort with Kgatlana put through but her hasty effort did not pack any power.
The Dutch went straight up the other end to score although at first Esme Brugts’ speculative effort was expertly tipped onto the roof of the net by goalkeeper Kaylin Swart.
But from the resultant corner the Dutch went ahead. Lieke Martens attacked the ball and headed in towards goal with the effort blocked by Lebohang Ramalepe but the ball went up into the air along the line and Roord was quick to help it over the line.
Kgatlana’s pace troubled the Dutch but it was Swart at the other end who kept South Africa’s hopes alive, saving well in the 29th minute from Danielle van de Donk.
Influential Jermaine Seoposenwe was forced off early after knocking her knee against a teammate with Wendy Shongwe taking her place inside the opening 30 minutes and there was another injury blow five minutes before halftime when Bambanani Mbane was taken off and Tiisetso Makhubela took her place.
Dutch keeper Daphne van Domselaar made her first save in the 35th minute as Kgatlana came inside from left and struck well and then pulled off an even better one, on the stroke of halftime, with Kgatlana clear in, and looking for all money like she was going to score.
Kgatlana’s three on-target efforts in the first half almost matched the entire number of efforts – four – that were on target against the Dutch in their three group games against Portugal, the U.S and Vietnam.
Martens had the ball in the Banyana goal soon after the break after turning superbly with her back to goal to swivel and strike. But a VAR check for offside denied the effort in a let off for South Africa, whose defence had switched off and were caught cold.
A soft goal ended Banyana hopes as the Dutch doubled the lead in the 68th minute, with Martins putting Beerensteyn away and her shot slipped through Swart’s hands in a horror error.
South Africa were thoroughly out played in the second half, looking exhausted after their exertions in getting past the first round group phase and into the last-16 for the first time.
But there was an opportunity to pull one back in the 73rd minute as Linda Motlhalo’s effort was saved by Van Domselaar.
Beerensteyn was offside when she netted with 11 minutes left, denying the Dutch a third.
South Africa are expected to depart Australia on Monday and will likely be accorded a hero’s welcome when they arrive at OR Tambo International Airport.