The Hague - The South African women's hockey team have outplayed world number-three England 4-1 in their group B match at the women's hockey World Cup in The Hague.
South Africa scored four outstanding goals from open play, the first going to Kathleen Taylor in the 17th minute, the second an exquisite strike by Sulette Damons, playing in her 150th match, three minutes from half-time.
After the changeover it was a Shelley Russell stunner (40th) followed by the fourth strike off the stick of Dirkie Chamberlain in the 52nd minute.
England scored a consolation goal through Nicola White in the 55th.
"We worked hard for this result. I am pleased but not surprised by the outcome," said South African captain Marsha Cox.
"We started the tournament shakily but had put a lot of focus on this game even before the World Cup, against an England side that have always given us a tough battle."
Assistant coach Kurt Cerfontyne said after two defeats the match was the crossroads of the tournament for South Africa.
"The result was non-negotiable and we have asked the girls to enjoy the moment but keep their feet on the ground as there are still two matches to come," he said.
South Africa now have a fighting chance of leapfroging the Chinese and Germans to finish third in the group, and with it a shot at an unprecedented fifth place.
Cox said the team would re-focus for its match against China on Sunday, before the final group tussle with the United States on Tuesday.
"China are fast and technically good, so it's going to be an extremely tough game for us."
England coach Jason Lee said his team's confidence dropped after they hit the post and did not score early in the match. He was disappointed at how they conceded the four goals.
The South Africans' win is particularly praiseworthy as England won the London 2012 Olympics bronze medal as Great Britain.
Eight of those players were in Friday's line-up. England's success continued in 2013 with silver at the European Cup and bronze in the World league finals just under six months ago.