FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. Round of 16 Saturday 05 August | Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney Netherlands v South Africa

The match

The Netherlands secured top spot in FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ Group E courtesy of an emphatic 7-0 victory over Vietnam in their final fixture as the USA were held to a 0-0 draw by Portugal. The 2019 runners-up will be favourites to progress to the quarter-finals, and they beat South Africa 5-1 in a friendly last year.



South Africa reached the knockout phase of the Women’s World Cup for the first time after Thembi Kgatlana scored a dramatic late winner against Italy to send Banyana Banyana into the last 16. Only a 90th-minute goal denied South Africa a draw against Sweden in their opening game of the tournament and they will have no fear heading into this fixture against another much higher-ranked opponent.

Team news

Stefanie van der Gragt played the full match against Vietnam to prove her fitness after she had been replaced at half-time against the USA. Victoria Pelova had also been a doubt ahead of the Vietnam game, but played the first half. Lineth Beerensteyn, who was injured in the opening match against Portugal, was again not involved against Vietnam and will be looking to prove her fitness in a bid to feature at some stage.


tromoto nv

South Africa will be able to welcome back key midfielder Kholosa Biyana, who missed the victory over Italy due to suspension after picking up yellow cards in the opening two games. Captain Refiloe Jane also did not feature against Italy due to an ankle injury and she will be hoping to be involved to add further quality into the South Africa side.

Players to watch

Esmee Brugts The 20-year-old had already been tipped to be one of the stand-out players at the tournament before she demonstrated exactly why that was the case by scoring two stunning long-range goals in the 7-0 thrashing of Vietnam. Though she starts in a more defensive position on the left-hand side under Andries Jonkers, Brugts’ ability going forward makes her a frightening proposition for opposing teams. In addition, Brugts is searching for a new club for next season and another stellar showing against South Africa will likely see clubs clamouring for her signature.


Thembi Kgatlana Kgatlana has proved her fitness following a serious Achilles tendon injury suffered last year to lead the line superbly for South Africa in this tournament. After scoring in the 2-2 draw against Argentina, she set up Hildah Magaia with a clever pass for Banyana Banyana to take the lead against Italy before finishing at the near post for the crucial winner in added time. Kgatlana has scored in two previous appearances against the Netherlands.


“From the beginning of our preparations, we were quite convinced we can beat every opponent in this tournament. Of course, it helps if you qualify first when the United States is in your group, you win 7-0 and you make wonderful goals. A year ago we saw all sorts of teams in Europe who were better than us, but we managed to close the gap. So I think we can rightfully state that we will be able to win against anybody, but we have to make it happen.” Andries Jonker, Netherlands coach


“We’ve played the Netherlands a few times, even last year before we went to WAFCON, they are a fantastic side. Through coach Vera (Pauw), who was our coach before, we know a lot about the Netherlands as well. It’s going to be a very tough match, they’ve played really well on their side but now it’s a knockout match, it’s all to play for, there’s no second chance, there’s no tomorrow, it’s on the day. And we’re gonna make sure we recover very quickly and get ready for the game, it’s all to play for. This team has shown that they have resilience. They’ve shown that they can be brave. They’ve shown that nothing can stop them if they put their mind to it and play for each other.” Desiree Ellis, South Africa coach


Share article

Latest articles