Netherlands manager Andries Jonker says his team have come to the Women’s World Cup “with the conviction that we can beat everybody” after securing a quarter-final spot against Spain.
The Netherlands were forced to endure several anxious moments before defeating South Africa and booking a place in the last eight.
They will have to face Spain without experienced midfielder Danielle van de Donk, who picked up a second yellow card of the tournament and is suspended.
Former Arsenal player Van de Donk, a Champions League winner with current club Lyon, broke down in tears at full-time knowing she will miss the quarter-final after starting all 15 World Cup games in Netherlands’ history.
“We have this conviction, it’s not the last game for Danielle. It’s very disappointing she got a yellow card but we can’t change it,” said Jonker.
“Danielle has very specific qualities that we really need and we will miss those qualities.
“But we’ve got a lot of other good midfielders and that’s what we’ll need to work out over the next few days.”
Jill Roord, Manchester City’s new club record signing, nodded the Netherlands ahead but South Africa went close to equalising several times against the 2019 runners-up.
Banyana Banyana captain Thembi Kgatlana was once again a real handful and forced four fine saves from Daphne van Domselaar, Aston Villa’s new goalkeeper, in front of a crowd of 40,233 at Sydney Football Stadium.
Lineth Beerensteyn doubled the lead after a mistake by South Africa keeper Kaylin Swart in the second half.
The Netherlands will return to New Zealand to face Spain in Wellington on Friday at 02:00 BST for a place in the semi-finals.