The second World Cup semi final was a dramatic affair, as two European heavyweights met in Lyon.

 

NETHERLANDS v SWEDEN

The Netherlands are through to their first World Cup Final after a thrilling 1-0 extra time victory over Sweden.

Both defensive units were on top early in the match. The closest either team came to scoring in the first half was a double chance from a Swedish corner in the 37th minute. Elin Rubensson’s shot was blocked by a defender, and Lina Hurtig’s follow up effort was saved well by Sari van Veenendaal.

Sweden went even closer on 56 minutes following a scramble in the Dutch penalty area, but van Veenendaal did brilliantly to tip Nilla Fischer’s low strike onto the post.

Eight minutes later, there were goalkeeping heroics at the other end. Hedvig Lindahl, playing in her 19th World Cup match (a Swedish record), somehow tipped Vivianne Miedema’s goalbound header onto the crossbar.

Dutch substitute Shanice van de Sanden then had a chance to win it in second half stoppage time, however Lindahl was equal to the task, and the sides were sent into extra time.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 99th minute after a nice passing move, with Jackie Groenen’s unerring strike finding the bottom corner.

Sweden put the pressure on in the closing stages, but the Dutch held on, surviving five minutes of time added on to make history.

The Netherlands will play the United States in Sunday’s World Cup Final, while Sweden meet England on Saturday in the third place playoff.

Netherlands 1 (Groenen 99’)

Sweden 0