Lyon (France), July 4 (IANS) Playing in only their second Women’s World Cup, the Netherlands qualified for the final against three-time champion US with a 1-0 win over Sweden in extra time in the second semifinal.
The reigning European champions were undefeated coming into the semifinal at Stade de Lyon, while Sweden lost 0-2 to the US in the group stage, reports Efe news.
England and the US put on a terrific display of offence on Tuesday in the first semifinal, but the Swedish and Dutch sides opted for caution.
As neither team had been expected to get this far, the emphasis on avoiding mistakes was understandable on Wednesday, though perhaps not much appreciated by the 48,000-plus in the stands hoping to see fireworks.
Sweden managed two shots in the first half and the Dutch, despite enjoying 53 per cent possession, produced only one chance. The stars — Vivianne Miedema for the Netherlands and the Scandinavian side’s Stina Blackstenius — were nearly invisible.
The Dutch began the second half without their best player in the 2017 European Championship, Lieke Martens, who has been hampered by a foot injury.
The match came alive for a few minutes about midway through the second half.
Netherlands goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal had to be sharp to divert a low strike from Nilla Fischer to the post in the 71st minute.
On the following sequence, a Miedema header forced a heroic save from Swedish keeper Hedvig Lindahl, who subsequently turned aside a shot by Shanice van de Sanden.
Finally, nine minutes into the first extra-time period, Jackie Groenen, who wears No. 14 jersey of Dutch legend Johan Cruyff, put the ball in the Swedish net with a textbook shot into the bottom corner.