Preview: Netherlands Women vs. South Africa Women – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Women’s World Cup clash between Netherlands Women and South Africa Women, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Netherlands Women and South Africa Women will be vying for a place in the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup 2023 when they face off at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday.

The Dutch topped a group that contained the defending champions the USA, while South Africa claimed a 3-2 victory over Italy to secure their place in the last-16.

Match preview

Netherlands Women midfielder Jill Roord (6) reacts after scoring a goal on July 27, 2023© Reuters

After finishing as runners-up four years ago, the Netherlands’s hopes of going one better have been boosted by their impressive performance in the group stage.

Andries Jonker‘s side began the tournament with a narrow 1-0 victory over Portugal, before they played out a 1-1 draw with the USA in a rematch of the 2019 World Cup final.

The Netherlands showcased their attacking talent in the final group game against Vietnam, as they cruised to a 7-0 victory thanks to braces from Esme Brugts and Jill Roord as well as efforts from Lieke Martens, Katja Snoeijs and Danielle van de Donk.

They will now turn their attention to Sunday’s last-16 tie, and it will be the first time that the Netherlands have faced South Africa since claiming a commanding 5-1 victory in a friendly in April 2022.

In their only previous last-16 appearance at the Women’s World Cup in 2019, the Dutch claimed a 2-1 win over Japan courtesy of a Martens brace.

South Africa Women's Thembi Kgatlana celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates on August 2, 2023© Reuters

South Africa are competing in their second Women’s World Cup after previously appearing at the 2019 tournament, where they finished bottom of their group without a point to their name.

That disappointment proved to be the start of South Africa’s journey, as they went on to win the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 2022, before showcasing their improvement at the current edition of the Women’s World Cup.

After suffering a narrow defeat to Sweden on Matchday One, the Banyana Banyana gave up a two-goal lead in their second game with Argentina, ensuring they would require a win from their final group match against Italy to have any hope of reaching the last-16.

Desiree Ellis‘s side established a 2-1 lead thanks to a Benedetta Orsi own goal and a Hildah Magaia strike, but they looked to be heading home when Arianna Caruso equalised in the 74th minute, before Thembi Kgatlana etched her name in South African football history, netting a stoppage-time winner to send her country through to the knockout rounds.

While they will go into Sunday’s contest as massive underdogs, South Africa have proven that they have the firepower to trouble their opposition after scoring six goals in the group stage.

Netherlands Women Women’s World Cup form:

South Africa Women Women’s World Cup form:

Team News

Netherlands Women coach Andries Jonker during the match on July 27, 2023© Reuters

Netherlands striker Lineth Beerensteyn has missed the last two matches through injury, but she is expected to be fit for Sunday’s last-16 tie.

The Juventus forward may have to settle for a place on the bench, though, with Jonker expected to name an unchanged lineup.

Having conceded just one goal in the tournament, the back three of Sherida Spitse, Stephanie van der Gragt and Dominique Janssen will be looking to produce another strong defensive display.

As for their opponents, they are expected to be without the services of Refiloe Jane, who picked up an injury against South Africa’s second group game against Argentina.

After being suspended for the win over Italy, Kholosa Biyana could be brought into the starting lineup for Sunday’s encounter.

Kgatlana will provide one of South Africa’s main goal threats after finding the net in her country’s final two group games.

Netherlands Women possible starting lineup:
Van Domselaar; Spitse, Van der Gragt, Janssen; Pelova, Roord, Groenen, Van de Donk, Brugts; Snoeijs, Martens

South Africa Women possible starting lineup:
Swart; Ramalepe, Mbane, Gamede, Dhalmini; Biyana, Motlhalo; Cesane, Seoposenwe, Magaia; Kgatlana

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We say: Netherlands Women 3-1 South Africa Women

The Netherlands will go into the last-16 tie as heavy favourites, and while we expect South Africa to cause their opponents one or two problems, we think the Dutch will have the extra-quality required to secure their place in the quarter-finals.

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