Netherlands v South Africa: Women’s World Cup 2023 last 16 – live

Key events

First half under way

1 min: And we’re off! The Netherlands, of course, are in all orange, South Africa in all black. We’ll know who will play Spain in the quarter-finals in about 90 mins – or maybe more. The Dutch get us under way.

And the national anthems. Rousing stuff from both. I don’t know about you though, I’m ready for the football to start.

Here come the teams out into a pretty full-looking stadium. The crowds, certainly in Australia, have been exceptional so far, and the tournament is being widely lauded for its success.

We’re less than 10 minutes away from kick-off in Sydney. And it’s time for the Welcome to Country. Lovely stuff, as the crowd is welcomed to Gadigal country.

“Mike, greetings from California,” writes Mary Waltz. “It’s a joy not to need to mainline coffee to be able stay awake. Normally I would say the Netherlands in a walk over but this is the anything can happen World Cup.”

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the tournament so far, it’s not to make predictions (certainly I won’t be). Germany, Canada and Brazil have all fallen already, and with the rise of African nations this year, of course anything is possible today.

Desiree Ellis, South Africa’s coach, is refusing to get carried way with what her team has achieved so far. “The history is there but it means nothing at this moment,” she says in pre-match interview with Optus.

On today’s game: “We just have to make sure that we play our game as well. We have to make sure, first of all that we don’t concede, because we always going to create chances and then we have to manage the game. I think the team that wins today is a team that executes the plan better than the other one.”

The Dutch have threats all over the park, but one player everyone seems to be talking about this tournament is Esmee Brugts. The youngster hit two stunning goals in the win over Vietnam and will be one to watch today.

Brugts profile

The Dutch are out in force in Sydney.

Fifa had the Netherlands at ninth in its world rankings heading into this tournament and South Africa at 54th (that’s so far down the list, it required a scroll to the second page on the Fifa website to find them). BUT, how things have changed. Fifa haven’t updated their rankings and won’t do so until after the tournament, so you’ll have to rely on our very own, which have the Dutch in fourth at the conclusion of the group stage, and South Africa in 10th.

Weather update: I can tell you that it’s overcast in Sydney’s east this morning. The temperature is around the 15C mark, but when the sun popped out earlier, it seemed significantly warmer. Some rain overnight will ensure a decent playing surface. There might be some more rain later in the day, but all in all, pretty ideal playing conditions.


Here are today’s teams. The Dutch make just one change – Juventus star Lineth Beerensteyn is back after injury and replaces Katja Snoeijs in the starting XI.

  • 1 Daphne van Domselaar

  • 8 Sherida Spitse

  • 3 Stefanie van der Gragt

  • 20 Dominique Janssen

  • 17 Victoria Pelova

  • 6 Jill Roord

  • 14 Jackie Groenen

  • 10 Danielle van de Donk

  • 22 Esmee Brugts

  • 7 Lineth Beerensteyn

  • 11 Lieke Martens

South Africa also make one change – Kholosa Biyana is back after a ban for picking up two yellows in their opening two games. Robyn Moodaly makes way for her.

  • 1 Kaylin Swart

  • 2 Lebogang Ramalepe

  • 13 Bambanani Mbane

  • 4 Noko Matlou

  • 7 Karabo Dhlamini

  • 19 Kholosa Biyana

  • 3 Bongeka Gamede

  • 8 Hildah Magaia

  • 10 Linda Motlhalo

  • 12 Jermaine Seoposenwe

  • 11 Thembi Kgatlana

South Africa’s win over Italy – their first at a World Cup finals – was a rip-roarer. But it wasn’t just hailed as a success on the pitch – the implications off it will also be felt for years to come.

After a row with the South African Football Association (SAFA) over bonuses, the team appeared to have moved on, and were hailed far and wide. South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa sent his congratulations, saying “You have lifted our spirits and made us immensely proud. Bring the cup home!”

“This is a historic moment for South African football. This is a historic moment for women’s sport in the country,” added minister of sport Zizi Kodwa.

Here’s how they did it in case you need a reminder:


Mike Hytner

Mike Hytner

Hello and welcome once again. Here we are then, the knockout rounds, do-or-die, win-or-bust time. The field has already lost two runners after yesterday’s opening round of 16 matches – Switzerland bowed out, emphatically so, while Norway also said their goodbyes – and another two will follow today. Fascinatingly, one of those will be the world No 1 USA or world No 3 Sweden when they meet later on in Melbourne, but for now our focus is very much on Sydney, where the impressive Netherlands meet South Africa, who have delivered one of the stories of the tournament so far.

The Dutch qualified top of their Group E, above the aforementioned US, and signed off from the group stage with a 7-0 tonking of Vietnam, while Banyana Banyana went through thanks to an incredible last-gasp winner against Italy, in a victory that has been labelled as a historic moment for the women’s game in South Africa. More on that in a bit.

Kick-off at the Sydney Football Stadium is in an hour. Stick with us for the build-up, and in the meantime, feel free to get in touch on the email or Twitter (or whatever it’s called these days) details above. Let’s do this!

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