Netherlands came into the tournament with a high degree of favour in the corner. They came into this game looking slightly less perfect as they were held to a 2-2 draw in their opening game against Australia. For South Africa it was frustration in opening game as large spells of good had no end product and the teams ultimately started with a 1-0 defeat to Chile. It was going to be an incredibly tough for the African champions taking on a country that had made every finals since 2009.
That challenge grew in the worst way possible as the South Africans conceded a penalty corner in the opening 90 seconds that was converted by the Dutch. South Africa settled into the game, but had goalkeeper Morgan de Jager to thank for keeping the score at 1-0 when she produced one of the finest reflex saves to deny the Dutch a second. Although denying the Dutch many opportunities, the defensive work sacrificed the offensive threat and the opening quarter ended 1-0 to Netherlands.
South Africa conceded an early penalty corner in the second quarter and the Dutch precision was telling as Mikki Roberts netted her second. South Africa produced a goal scoring opportunity for Ntsopa Mokoena but she pulled the shot wide. Netherlands themselves found a rare gap in the South African defence but Mette Winter skied the ball when she really should have tested the keeper. De Jager made another good save from the third Dutch penalty corner to keep the score at 2-0 but the South Africans were under far more pressure than Lenise Marais would have liked. That pressure told through a quality finish on the reverse stick from Jip Dicke to make it 3-0 at the half-time break.
The third quarter was a story of attack vs. defence as South Africa fought surge after surge of Dutch pressure. The Africans were able to deny the Europeans from open play, but the Dutch weaponry at penalty corner time were too damaging. Beljaars first made it 4-0 before Roberts completed her hat-trick with an unstoppable penalty corner. 5-0 the score with 15 minutes remaining.
The Dutch continued to underline the status as favourites with a final 15 minutes that dictated the game and never really gave the South Africans a sniff of an opportunity. They did continue to create but de Jager and her defence did well to deny them in a game where the gap of less than 24 hours was clearly a factor in a subdued final quarter. There was time for one more, from a penalty corner from Beljaars, doubling her tally and making it 6-0 to the defending champions.
The defeat means South Africa are no longer in contention for a place in the Quarter-Finals and will now have a days rest before the team complete their group stage fixtures against Australia on Saturday. The team will then re-set for the second half of the tournament looking to finish as high up the ladder as possible.
FIH Women’s Junior World Cup 2023 – Results 30 November
Pool D – England 5-0 New Zealand
Pool D – United States 2-1 Japan
Pool C – Belgium 8-0 Canada
Pool C – India 3-4 Germany
Pool A – South Africa 0-6 Netherlands
Still to be played at time of release
Pool A – Australia vs. Chile
FIH Women’s Junior World Cup 2023 – Fixtures 01 December (SA Time)
15:00 – Pool B – Spain vs. Zimbabwe
17:00 – Pool D – New Zealand vs. Japan
23:30 – Pool D – United States vs. England
01:30 – Pool B – Korea vs. Argentina