The SPAR South African Indoor Hockey side continued their historic run at the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup on Friday night as a capacity crowd watched them defeat Belgium 2-1 to secure the first World Cup semi-final for any African nation.
South Africa began the day by celebrating Jess Lardant reaching the milestone of 50 games for the country. SPAR South Africa had built their run in the tournament on the back of gritty defensive stability, arguably being the strongest defensive outfit at the tournament. But they came out firing in the early exchanges and may have taken an early lead had Kayla de Waal not fired it narrowly wide.
The hosts were on top and the goal came through their fantastic captain. The African’s won a penalty corner, took it from the reverse side and produced a sensational strike from the skipper to open the scoring.
Kayla de Waal had a couple of chances but the goal would eventually come from the stick of tournament star Tegan Fourie. The ball was passed through every player on the court and eventually a reverse pass by Jess Lardant opened the defence up. It connected with Tegan Fourie, who took the space on offer and fired home. At the half time break the South Africans were good value for a 2-0 lead.
In the third quarter South Africa looked more likely to add to the scoring as Jamie Southgate fired in a shot from an acute angle and Tegan Fourie saw her shot trickle wide. The South Africans continued to defend like the Trojan army as the third quarter ended with Belgium still having only two shots at goal
The Belgians would be given a lifeline when they played a superb through ball picked up the striker and a sensational touch diverted it past Cheree Greyvenstein to silence the crowd and give the visitors belief.
But as had been the case for most teams in the tournament, they found it incredibly tough to break down the South Africans. Even pulling their keeper off to launch an all out attack didn’t not create the outcomes they were hoping for and South Africa sealed a famous win.
The South Africans will next play Netherlands in the semi-final on Saturday afternoon before a potential final awaits later on the same day.
— SA Hockey (@SA_Hockey) February 10, 2023