Netherlands Women 1-0 Sweden Women (AET): Jackie Groenen fires Netherlands into World Cup final
The Netherlands will play the USA in Sunday's final while Sweden will face England in Saturday's third-place play-off
Last Updated: 04/07/19 8:14am
Jackie Groenen's extra-time goal fired the Netherlands into their first Women's World Cup final with a 1-0 win over Sweden on Wednesday, setting up a showdown with the USA.
It was a strong defensive performance from both sides over the 90 minutes. Netherlands goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal put in an inspired first-half performance to keep a lively Sweden at bay, while Nilla Fischer and Vivianne Miedema both hit the post in the second period.
But it was the Netherlands who found the breakthrough in the 99th minute as Groenen swept a fierce effort past Hedvig Lundahl to send the Dutch into their second successive major final, having won the Women's European Championships two years ago.
They will face the current Women's World Cup holders USA in Lyon on Sunday while Sweden will go up against England in the third-place play-off on Saturday in Nice.
How the Netherlands edged it
Sweden will be disappointed by the result after seeing the better of the first half chances, with the Netherlands unable to create a clear-cut opening. Sweden first tested their opponents inside nine minutes as Lina Hurtig rounded Desiree van Lunteren on the left before taking on a low shot. However, Van Veenendaal was there to stop her at the near post and won a tight goal kick in the process.
The Netherlands: Van Veenendaal (8), Van Lunteren (7), Van Der Gragt (7), Bloodworth (7), Van Dongen (6), Groenen (7), Spitse (7), Van de Donk (7), Beerensteyn (7), Martnes (5), Miedema (6).
Subs used: Roord (6), Van de Sanden (7).
Sweden: Lindahl (7), Glas (5), Fischer (6), Sembrant (5), Eriksson (7), Rubensson (7), Seger (6), Jakobsson (7), Asllani (7), Hurtig (7), Blackstenius (7).
Subs used: Zigiotti (6), Janogy (5), Larsson (n/a), Andersson (n/a).
Player of the match: Seri Van Veenendaal.
The Swedes were on the attack again six minutes later after a superb run from Sofia Jakobsson saw her pick out Stina Blackstenius down the right of the area. The forward took on the shot, but Van Veenendaal was there to make a low save. However, the Netherlands captain did take a nick to the hand from Jakobsson as she tried to get onto a potentially loose ball, but the goalkeeper was OK after a visit from the medics.
- The Netherlands made one change with Shanice Van de Sanden replaced by Lineth Beerensteyn, who made her first start of the tournament.
- Elin Rubensson was scheduled to start on the bench for Sweden and was replaced by Nathalie Bjorn, but a late bout of illness for the latter saw Rubensson reinstated to the starting XI. Elsewhere, Fridolina Rolfo missed out through suspension with Lina Hurtig coming in.
Van Veenendaal was the saviour again in the 38th minute as Sweden put a corner into the area. The Netherlands did initially clear it, but only as far as Elin Rubensson just inside the area, who saw her shot block. The loose ball then fell for Hurtig, but her effort was saved by the feet of the goalkeeper before the Netherlands hauled the ball away.
Twelve minutes after the restart and Sweden were denied again - this time by the woodwork. Magdalena Eriksson's corner was initially pushed away by Van Veenendaal - but only as far as Kosovare Asslani. Although her shot was blocked, Hurtig got onto the loose ball and flicked it back for the waiting Nilla Fischer, who fired her effort through a packed box but the slightest of touches from the goalkeeper pushed it onto the post.
The Netherlands' best chance of the regular period came in the 64th minute as the woodwork was rattled at the other end. It also came from a corner - this one from Sherida Spitse - which met the free head of Miedema at the near post. However, the ball grazed the fingertips of Sweden stopper Lindahl on the way through to send it onto the post, before Lineth Beerensteyn was flagged for offside as she tried to turn home the loose ball.
The remainder of the half produced a few half chances - Eriksson firing a free kick just over the crossbar while Shanice van de Sanden saw a drilled effort collected by Lindahl - and with no goals, the game went into extra time.
It was the Netherlands who dominated the first 15 minutes and they took advantage of their pressure with a 99th minute goal. It was some wonderful, one-touch play from the Dutch that saw Groenen burst towards the area before sweeping the ball into the bottom corner with a sensational strike.
It was a subdued end to the game as winger Asllani was stretchered off with just a minute of the extra period to play, looking to have taken a ball to the face at close range. She will be a doubt for Saturday's third-place play-off against England.
Player of the match - Seri Van Veenendaal
It was a true captain's performance from Van Veenendaal. While Groenen scored the winning goal, it was the Netherlands goalkeeper who truly won it for her team with a string of sensational saves in the first half to keep out a plucky Sweden side.
While she had a quieter time of it after the break, her most important contribution did come in the second half with the slightest of touches sending Fischer's shot onto the post. After that, Sweden looked to run out of puff and Van Veenendaal will now deservedly lead her side into their first Women's World Cup final on Sunday.
- Netherlands have reached their first Women's World Cup final, the eighth different team to do so and fourth different European nation.
- No side have lost more Women's World Cup semi-final matches than Sweden, with this their third loss in four such games in the competition (USA also three).
- Netherlands vs Sweden is the first ever Women's World Cup semi-final match to be settled in extra time.
- Jackie Groenen's winning goal was the Netherlands' first from outside the box in the Women's World Cup since their first ever goal in the competition, with each of their last 12 being scored inside the box.
- Sweden's Kosovare Asllani won seven fouls in this match, more than any other player in a single game at this year's tournament.