Packed stadium sees Dutch women lead Swiss in race for Europe’s last France 2019 spot

November 12 – The Netherlands defeated Switzerland 3-0 in the first leg of the Women’s World Cup play-off final on Friday to take full control of the tie as Sherida Spitse, Lieke Martens and Vivianne Miedema all got on the scoreboard in the second half. The second leg is set for Tuesday. 

In Utrecht the European champions hosted the Swiss at a sold-out Galgenwaard stadium, the 23,000 tickets having being snapped up 30 minutes after they went on sale. The vociferous backing however was not enough to steer the Netherlands clear in the first half as they exerted total domination, but lacked a finishing touch in front of goal.

In 2015 the Netherlands also qualified for their maiden World Cup through a play-off and they came good after the break as Spitse scored early on from a set piece before Martens doubled the lead in the 71st minute and Miedema sealed the comprehensive win.

“We have taken a huge step,” said Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman. “It is a great first-leg position, but even so we will have to be sharp. We shouldn’t let this slip and we won’t. Complacency is a threat.”

The second leg will be the last game in charge for Wiegman’s counterpart Martina Voss-Tecklenberg, who will go on to coach her native Germany. Voss-Tecklenberg will be able to count on Chelsea striker Ramona Bachmann, who had been suspended for the first leg, for the return leg, but the Swiss have a mountain to climb if they want to seal their World Cup ticket.

The qualifiers will join hosts France, England, Germany, Norway, Italy, Scotland, Spain and Sweden plus 15 other qualifiers in the draw in December. France, who beat Brazil 3-1 in a friendly on Saturday, will host the World Cup next year from June 7 to July 7.

Contact the writer of this story Samindra Kunti at moc.l1708921982labto1708921982ofdlr1708921982owedi1708921982sni@o1708921982fni1708921982