July 4 – European champions the Netherlands reached their first Women’s World Cup final on Wednesday with a 1-0 win after extra time over Sweden.
A long-range 99th-minute strike from Jackie Groenen sent the Dutch into Sunday’s final against odds-on favourites and holders the USA .
“We are going to rest a lot first but now first a party. Sunday in the final – unbelievable,” said coach Sarina Wiegman, herself a former Netherlands midfielder who amassed more than 100 caps in a 14-year playing career.
The game marked the first time a women’s World Cup semi-final had gone to extra time in front of a bumper crowd of 48,452 but failed to match the quality of Tuesday’s gripping tie between England and three-time champions the USA.
But the Netherlands’ achievement – reaching the final ranked eighth in the world while competing in only their second Women’s World Cup – was greeted with emotional celebrations at the full-time whistle.
Sweden were playing in their fourth semi-final after stunning Germany in the last eight and will now face England in Saturday’s third-place play-off.
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