England beat South Africa to book New Zealand semi-final
July 19, 2019 9:44 pm
England booked a semi-final meeting with New Zealand at the Netball World Cup by beating South Africa 58-47 in their final group match.
In the battle for Group G’s top spot, the Roses outclassed their opponents – especially in the first half.
World number five side South Africa closed the gap after the break but England’s unbeaten record in Liverpool never felt under threat.
The Proteas will face holders Australia in Saturday’s first semifinal.
The Aussie Diamonds, the 11-time champions, overcame New Zealand 50-49 earlier on Thursday to top Group F and also remain undefeated.
A semi-final meeting with the Silver Ferns, feels like the lesser of two evils for Tracey Neville’s England, but their performance on Thursday will give them plenty of confidence against a team who have won the trophy four times.
This game was expected to be a real test for England, with South Africa winning all their five matches en route to their tie.
Norma Plummer’s side had also won their last meeting at the Quad Series in January but the 74-year-old admitted her side could not handle the pressure on the big stage in front of a partisan home crowd.
Shooting pair Jo Harten and Helen Housby were in brilliant form for the Roses – especially Harten, whose highlight reel included nailing a shot on the turn from the edge of the area with seconds left on the clock in the first quarter.