Women’s World Cup: Groenen extra-time goal sends Dutch to final


Jackie Groenen’s extra-time goal secured the Netherlands a place in the Women’s World Cup final after a goalless first 90 minutes.

The first big chance of the encounter went to Sweden when Sofia Jakobsson ran at the Dutch defence before rolling the ball to Stina Blackstenius. The 23-year-old took a touch before striking at goal only to be denied by a strong Sari van Veenendaal save.

Both sides cancelled each other out for much of the first half before another great save from van Veenendaal, this time from Lina Hurtig after a scramble following a Sweden corner.

The Netherlands were restricted to shots from range from much of the half as the teams went in with everything to play for in the second half.

Sweden’s threat from set-pieces almost generated the opener on 55 minutes. After failing to clear, Swedish veteran Nilla Fischer struck a low shot destined for the bottom corner until van Veenendaal’s fingertip onto the post.

The game lacked the same intensity and quality displayed in the England US semi-final as defences ruled in Lyon as the hour mark arrived.

Holland hit the woodwork themselves on 63 minutes when Vivianne Miedema’s header from a corner was superbly tipped onto the bar by Swedish keeper Hedvig Lindahl.

Substitute Shanice van de Sanden forced Lindahl into another save late on but the lack of clinical finishing from both teams ultimately meant another 30 minutes were in store.

Extra-time continued to be a cagey affair with limited chances being created in Lyon.

The deadlock was finally broken on 99 minutes when a sustained period of pressure from the Dutch paid off. A layoff fell to midfielder Jackie Groenen who took a touch out her feet before firing a low shot across Lindahl into the far corner.

Sweden pushed to find an equaliser and save their World Cup dream but Sarina Wiegman’s team held on to secure their place in Sunday’s final against the USA.


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