4 July 2019– The Netherlands will play USA in Sunday’s FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Final after Jackie Groenen emerged as their extra-time heroine. The midfielder, identified by our Team Reporter as the Oranjeleeuwinnen’s key player, scored a 99th-minute winner to sink Sweden and settle the first Women’s World Cup semi-final ever to go beyond the regulation 90.

Dramatic as the conclusion was, this was a very different last-four encounter to USA’s breathless 2-1 victory over England last night. The first half was tight, tense and lacking in chances while the second was dominated by superb saves by Sari van Veenendaal and Hedvig Lindahl: the teams’ respective keepers.

But the Dutch – who are playing in just their second edition of this tournament – secured a historic Final spot by producing the game’s one moment of real attacking quality. It came, of course, from Groenen, who charged through on to a clever lay-off from Vivianne Miedema and drilled a 20-yard shot beyond the previously unbeatable Lindahl.

Netherlands 1-0 Sweden

Team Reporter analysis

Emma Coolen (Netherlands)

What a thrilling way to reach a World Cup Final! The Netherlands and Sweden made this semi-final a real tactical battle and it took one moment of brilliance from Jackie Groenen to decide an extremely tight match. This semi-final might not have lived up to supporters’ expectations as it did not feature the most creative brand of football from either side but it was an intriguing game all the same. It needed 120 minutes in hot and humid Lyon to separate the sides and, in the end, Sweden were the team to blink first.

Alexandra Jonson (Sweden)

Disappointment. That’s the prevailing emotion the Swedish players will be feeling right now. They believed so much in the possibility of reaching this Women’s World Cup Final and they were so close to doing so. They will be reflecting on the chances they had and the fact they were just the width of a goalpost away from the France 2019 decider. But it was Sweden’s defence that had to work the hardest with Nilla Fischer, Hanna Glas and Hedvig Lindahl all outstanding as they were continually put to the test. For a time, it seemed like it was a test they would pass but extra time proved too much. There will be tears tonight and then these players will once again have to show their mental strength as they re-focus on the bronze-medal match against England.

Sarina Wiegman, Netherlands head coach

On the ascent of women’s football in the Netherlands: “The potential for the Netherlands has been there for a long time. Since 2007, when the Eredivisie started and players got better facilities and could train more, the players developed so much that they improved. And then when you’re at big tournaments, like European Championships and World Cups, they develop even more. They made transfers to big clubs in Europe.

“So it’s the whole development in the Netherlands, and also the individuals that made bigger steps. They are very experienced now, and they believe they can perform well.”

More from Wiegman

On the significance of two women coaching in this World Cup final – her and the USA’s Jill Ellis: “Of course I’m really happy to be in the final. If you want to go into the bigger picture, I think it’s important that women have the opportunity to develop as players, as coaches and in society.”

Jackie Groenen, Player of the Match

On her match-winning strike in extra time: “I saw a nice angle. We’ve been discussing this for a couple of weeks now, that I need to take shots more often. The ball just came really nicely, and I thought, ‘Let’s do this.’”

More from Groenen

On the Netherlands’ opponent in the final: “We’ve watched USA’s games, including their semi-final against England. They’re a very strong team, of course. They’re the USA, after all! Hopefully we’ll be able to play our own game. Anything can happen.”

Peter Gerhardsson, Sweden head coach

“Now it’s about the medal. Ending up third of course feels a lot better than ending up fourth. We’ll do everything in our power to try to do that. It’s not a lot of time to prepare. We’ll have to take a step back, have a look and come up with a game plan. It’s tough right now, but it will be nice to have another match.”

  • Netherlands beat Sweden 1-0 to set up Final meeting with USA
  • Extra-time winner leaves Swedes facing England in third-place play-off
  • Reaction and more: #NEDSWE Live Blog

(source: FIFA.com)