The Netherlands secured their place in the 2019 Women’s World Cup final after seeing off Sweden 1-0 in extra time as Jackie Groenen’s 99th-minute goal separated a close encounter in Wednesday’s semi-final.
In front of a noisy and excited crowd at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, the first meaningful chance fell to Stina Blackstenius, but the striker’s tame effort went straight at Sari van Veenendaal in the Dutch goal following Sofia Jakobsson’s ball through, when she should have done far better.
First big chance of the game falls to Sweden’s prolific striker Blackstenius but her effort was straight at the goalkeeper.
It’s been a cagey opening 15 minutes so far…#NEDSWE188:14 PM – Jul 3, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee 90min’s other Tweets
Sweden began taking grip of the match from there with Lina Hurtig seeing an effort at goal saved by the legs of Van Veenendaal.
It was a first half that failed to inspire, although Sweden were the first to come close in the second period as Dominique Bloodworth’s mistake let Blackstenius in, but the Dutch defender made amends tracking back and making a last-ditch block.
Another corner fell to Sweden and their tactic of flooding the six-yard box saw the incoming ball fall to Nilla Fischer on the right-hand side of the box who drilled a low shot across goal only to see Van Veenendaal produce a stunning save to tip her effort onto the post.
Not to be outdone, Miedema’s header looked destined to hit the back of the net, only for Hedvig Lindahl gets her fingertips to it and push it onto the bar. A huge moment of controversy followed as Hurtig drove into the box on the left-hand side, only for Desiree van Lunteren to slide in and miss the ball and instead clip Hurtig, but VAR failed to intervene given the lack of claims from the Swedish. If it had been reviewed, a penalty surely would have been given.
Substitute Shanice van de Sanden saw a late effort pushed wide by Lindahl as neither side were able to break the deadlock to send the game into extra time.
Sweden had the majority of the chances throughout the 90 minutes, but a lovely finish from Groenen from outside the box rolled into the bottom corner beyond Lindahl to spark scenes of jubilation.View image on Twitter
It proved to be the only goal of the game, as tired Swedish legs failed to find an equaliser, with the jubilation turning into ecstasy for the Dutch as they booked their place in Sunday’s Women’s World Cup final.
Key Talking Point
The Netherlands couldn’t match the level of performance displayed against Italy in the previous round, as they laboured during a first half that saw Sarina Wiegman’s side struggle to create opportunities.
With the teams emerging for the second half, it was still the Swedes who looked the better side, striking the post after a fine Van Veenendall save spared the Dutch players’ blushes. They received a huge slice of luck as VAR failed to intervene and hand Sweden a definite penalty, while Miedema struck the woodwork herself after a stunning Lindahl save.
Deadlock = BROKEN#NED 1-0 #SWE
Watch the closing stages. Live @BBCOne http://bbc.in/2Xpisc2 #NEDSWE #FIFAWWC #ChangeTheGame27110:23 PM – Jul 3, 201935 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy
Unlike the rest of the game, the Dutch were the better side in extra time, and their final reserves of energy in the French humidity paid dividends as Groenen’s effort from outside the box separated the sides and booked a final date with the United States – their first ever World Cup final.
Starting XI: Van Veenendall (8*); Van Lunteren (7), Van der Gragt (7), Bloodworth (6), Van Dongen (7); Groenen (7), Spitse (6), Van de Donk (7); Beerensteyn (5), Miedema (6), Martens (5)
Substitutes: Roord (6), van de Sanden (6)
Star Player – Sari van Veenendaal
While the saves she made in the opening half were stops she would have been expected to make, her save early in the second half prevented Sweden from taking the lead when they were on top.
Unsighted by a sea of bodies, she got down quickly to her right to tip Fischer’s effort with a superb palm away. With Sweden enjoying numerous corners and set pieces, she stood strong and was reliable throughout.
Key Talking Point
Coming into the clash few could have separated the sides, and the first half was a perfect epitome of that. It was Sweden who had the better of the first period, keeping plenty of the ball but struggling to get in behind a stubborn and well-organised Dutch defence.
The Swedes adopted a tactic of congesting the box for every corner and their best chances fell as a result of that approach, with the post being struck but will be left incensed after VAR failed to review what looked a clear penalty on Hurtig in normal time.View image on Twitter
Despite having the better openings, their failure to convert their opportunities proved pivotal as the Dutch looked strong in extra time and found the crucial opener. It was a lead that they ultimately held on to, as legs grew weary and the Dutch held firm, meaning Sweden missed out on a first World Cup final appearance since 2003.
Starting XI: Lindahl (8); Ericsson (7), Sembrandt (6), Fischer (7), Glas (6); Seger (7), Rubensson (6), Hurtig (7), Asllani (8), Jakobsson (8*); Blackstenius (6)
Substitutes: Zigiotti Olme (6), Janogy (6), Andersson (N/A)
Star Player – Sofia Jakobsson
Sweden’s number ten boasts blistering pace down the right-hand side and constantly tormented Merel van Dongen in the Dutch defence. Prior to Wednesday’s game she had scored just once, but her overall performances hadn’t gone unnoticed throughout the tournament.
The Netherlands’ biggest mistake was allowing her too much time on the ball, where she was able to weave her magic throughout the 90 minutes, but a lack of cutting edge from the Swedish team as a whole robbed her of clear cut chances.
A final against the reigning World Cup champions United States awaits the Netherlands as everybody sets Sunday July 7th in their diaries as the date of the competition’s showpiece event at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais.
Meanwhile, Sweden face a third-place play-off against England the day before at the Allianz Riviera.