Women's World Cup: Netherlands beat Italy, Sweden pull off fantastic comeback against Germany
The Netherlands and Sweden set up a semi-final clash after beating Italy and Germany respectively in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Women's World Cup.
Netherlands overcome Italy
Vivianne Miedema and Stefanie van der Gragt scored in the second half to send the Dutch to their first ever semi-final in Women's World Cup history. In what is only their second World Cup appearance, the Netherlands will now face Sweden in Lyon for a spot in the final of the showpiece event.
Valentina Giacinti miscued a very good chance for the Azzure early on in a half which was particularly cagey and didn't see many opportunities to score. Danielle van de Donk struck the bar just before the hour mark.
Sherida Spitse's powerful free-kick was flicked off the post but it was her perfectly whipped cross from the left flank was met by Miedema. The Arsenal strikers glancing headers gave the Netherlands the lead.
Spitse was the source for the second goal as well and her delivery into the box in the 80th minute was headed in by centre-back and captain van der Gragt at the far post. The defeat left the Italians devastated and there were many tears shed after the full-time whistle was blown.
Sweden stun Germany with amazing comeback
Sweden pulled off an emphatic comeback and dumped a heavily fancied Germany team to book their place in the semi-finals in a thrilling encounter in Rennes. Lina Magull's delightful half-volleyed finish put the Germans in the ascendancy in the 16th minute but their joy was short-lived.
Sofia Jakobsson beat Almuth Schult with a clinical finish to put Sweden level. The goal saw Germany's streak of not conceding for 381 minutes and was the first goal that they conceded in the ongoing World Cup.
Fridolina Rolfo's headed effort was saved by Schult and the rebound was hammered into the roof of the net by Stina Blackstenius in the 48th minute to cap off a stunning Swedish comeback.
Substitutes Dzsenifer Marozsán and Lena Oberdorf almost combined for the equalizer only for the latter to nod her header wide. Marina Hegering missed another golden opportunity by placing her header over the bar after Svenja Huth lobbed in a cross from the right.
The Netherlands and Sweden secured a spot in the 2020 Olympics with this win by virtue of being the three best European performers in the tournament. Both the teams will face each other on Wednesday in what promises to be an extremely intriguing encounter.