Soccer

Netherlands v Sweden | Semi Final 2019

FIFA Women's World Cup | Stade de Lyon

Jackie Groenen netted what will probably be remembered as one of the most important goals in the history of Oranjeleeuwinnen on Wednesday night, pushing the Netherlands with her extra-time blast into their first Women’s World Cup final. In a squad packed with individually brilliant performers, from Vivianne Miedema to Lieke Martens, it was eventually Groenen whose strong correct foot guided her side towards a date on Sunday with the United States in Lyon. Sweden’s defense remained strong for as long as goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl produced several fingertip savings, but they fell agonizingly brief and will return to Nice to fight for bronze against England.

“The potential for the Netherlands has been there for a long time. Since 2007, when the Eredivisie started and players got better facilities and could train more, the players developed so much that they improved. And then when you’re at big tournaments, like European Championships and World Cups, they develop even more. They made transfers to big clubs in Europe.
So it’s the whole development in the Netherlands, and also the individuals that made bigger steps. They are very experienced now, and they believe they can perform well.”
Sarina Wiegman, Netherlands head coach

Ultimately on Wednesday, Lyon was kind to the Orange Lionesses and now they’re going to stay around for a look at their first Women’s World Cup trophy against U.S. owners.

“I saw a nice angle. We’ve been discussing this for a couple of weeks now, that I need to take shots more often. The ball just came really nicely, and I thought, ‘Let’s do this’.
We’ve watched USA’s games, including their semi-final against England. They’re a very strong team, of course. They’re the USA, after all! Hopefully we’ll be able to play our own game. Anything can happen”.
Jackie Groenen, Player of the Match

Disappointment. That’s the sense the participants in Sweden are going to feel right now. They were so near and they thought so much that they could reach a World Cup final. They also had their opportunities tonight and might have been a goalpost away from the large final. But it was the defense that had to work the hardest this afternoon, with Nilla Fischer, Hanna Glas, and Hedvig Lindahl three of the Scandinavians ‘ most exceptional participants, and they were really placed to the test. And it was a test that appeared to pass, but in the end it became too much extra time. There will be tears tomorrow, and then these teams will have to demonstrate their emotional power once again as they re-focus ahead of the third-place match in Nice against England.

“Now it’s about the medal. Ending up third of course feels a lot better than ending up fourth. We’ll do everything in our power to try to do that. It’s not a lot of time to prepare. We’ll have to take a step back, have a look and come up with a game plan. It’s tough right now, but it will be nice to have another match.”
Peter Gerhardsson, Sweden head coach

What a thriller of football that was. In Sunday’s World Cup final, it took the Netherlands and Sweden a full 120 minutes plus extra time in hot and humid Lyon to decide who will face off against U.S. holders. Ultimately, Jackie Groenen’s Oranjeleeuwinnen required only one moment of genius to book their ticket to a landmark first ever final.

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