Dragflick Newsdesk : The scoreline suggests a dominant performance but South Africa posed a challenge to the Netherlands throughout this quarter-final, with only their finishing in front of goal preventing a closer result.
The Netherlands settled into business as usual when Jip Dicke added to her already impressive goal tally with a goal in the fourth minute. The goal was the result of a typical Dutch counter attack, with Dicke the final component in a sweeping movement between the players.
However, they would have been taken aback by some of the brave and speedy running from the Africa players, as they were roared on by the unashamedly partisan crowd. Both Bianca Wood and Onthatile Zulu caused a buzz in the stadium as they weaved crazy paths through the Dutch defence. Both players were clearly disappointed that the final shots didn’t end in the back of the net.
Dicke gave her team a cushion in the 15th minute when she pounced on a loose ball after a good initial save by Mishka Ellis from a Noor Omrani shot. Dicke pulled the ball out of the air to guide it home. This was Dicke’s twelfth goal of the games, keeping her firmly in the top scorers position.
At the end of the first half, South Africa’s shots on goal tally was six, to Netherlands’ eight – the difference, as Head Coach Lenise Marais pointed out, was the finishing.
At the start of the second half, South Africa had yet another chance to rattle the Dutch as they won their third penalty corner. This time, Hari Louw saw her rasping shot fly just wide of Sophia Ter Kuile’s post.
Chances fell to both teams throughout the third quarter, with Dicke coming close to adding to her tally and Zulu’s devastating running creating a handful of scoring opportunities for South Africa.
Things really heated up when an incredible double save by Sophia ter Kuile, first from the penalty corner shot and then from Chante Ferreira’s follow-up, continued to frustrate South Africa. The failure to convert was punished in the 43rd minute when Noor Omrani crashed a shot past Ellis to make it 3-0.
Luna Fokke scored her first of the game in the final minute of the quarter when she sent home a fierce penalty corner.
The fourth quarter saw Netherlands start to contain the free-running threat of the South Africa team. As energy levels sapped, the Dutchbegan to manage the game well, as they passed the ball round and challenged the South Africans to chase the ball. Omrani nearly scored another wonder goal as her creative lifted shot just went over the crossbar.
The coup de grace was issued by Luna Fokke who hit the ball from a penalty corner straight down the pitch at a lightening speed to beat Ellis and rattle the back board.
Player of the Match Rosa Fenig said:
‘We are so happy that we won this game and are now in the semi-finals. It was nice to play the host country. We didn’t start as well as we could play but we turned it round and showed what we could do in the second half.’
Netherlands Head Coach Dave Smolenaars agreed with his captain’s assessment:
‘The start was a bit doubtful but in the second half we were more effective. We were tested by a very energetic team from South Africa. We need to improve more because India has a really good team. We must improve every aspect of our play. South Africa were good on the counter, and India will do that too.’
South Africa’s Head Coach Lenise Marais said:
‘We went out there to play and give ourselves an opportunity. We will work on our finishing. We have another game in a day’s time against Korea so we will look at videos, and we will plan how to best play against them.’
The results mean that Netherlands will now play against India in the semi-finals, while South Africa face Korea in the battle for fifth to eighth place.