Netherlands sinks England, faces Denmark in finals

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ENSCHEDE, Netherlands: Arsenal duo Vivianne Miedema and Danielle van de Donk and Millie Bright’s own goal handed hosts Netherlands a 3-0 win over England in the women’s Euro semifinals at Enschede on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

In Sunday’s final, the Netherlands will face Denmark, who beat Austria 3-0 on penalties after a goalless draw at Breda.

Miedema opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a header across the goal from Jackie Groenen’s cross which keeper Siobhan Chamberlain could only watch sink into the goal at her left post.

Van de Donk chipped the ball over Chamberlain in the 62nd minute after picking up a loose back pass from England midfielder and Arsenal teammate Fara Williams.


England’s midfielder Millie Bright (left) jumps for the ball England’s forward Jodie Taylor during the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 football tournament semifinal match between Netherlands and England at the FC Twente Stadium, in Enschede on Friday. AFP PHOTO

Bright deflected Lieke Martens’s shot into her own net in the stoppage time to round off the score.

“It felt really great, it’s amazing,” beamed Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman, whose team beat Denmark 1-0 in the group phase.

“I think Denmark is one of the best teams at this tournament and I’m not surprised that they made it to the finals so we really expect a very good team against us on Sunday.”

Denmark edged Austria who missed four penalties on the night in total as Sarah Puntigam fired over from the spot in the 13th minute following Maja Kildemoes’ handball.

In the shoot-out, Laura Feiersinger blasted her penalty over while Viktoria Pinther and Verena Aschauer were denied by Danish keeper Stina Petersen.

“It was a very long match, it made me get older,” said Denmark coach Nils Nielsen.

“Austria played a beautiful tournament, but I’m delighted we ended up winners and I think it was deserved.”

England had several chances but Jade Moore saw her header cleared onto the post off the goal line in the 26th minute.

Dutch keeper Sari van Veenendaal, another Arsenal player on the pitch, stopped shots by Ellie White and Arsenal’s Jodie Taylor, who will leave the Netherlands with a tournament-leading five goals from four games.

Two minutes before the final whistle, Netherlands skipper Sherida Spitse stopped Toni Duggan’s shot on the goal line.

England coach Mark Sampson said he was devastated but “incredibly proud of the team”.

“We knew it was going to be difficult, the host nation, big crowd, really motivated, excellent team, Holland. They’ve deserved their place in the finals.”

Denmark, who sent eight-time champions Germany packing with a 2-1 quarter-final win, will play their first Euro final after their sixth semi-final in history.

Denmark dominated possession but Austria threatened first with Nina Burger’s shot that was cleared off the goal line by the Danish defense.

Sanne Troelsgaard blasted her shot into the crossbar on 21 minutes in Denmark’s best first-half chance.

Austrian keeper Manuela Zinsberger found herself pretty busy after half-time, clearing Simone Boye’s glancing header from close range and Pernille Harder’s left-footer from inside the box.

Katrine Veje slammed the ball over from close range in extra-time, while Harder first saw her shot stopped by Zinsberger and then sent her bullet header wide on 120 minutes.

“It was great to get to the semis in our first tournament, conceding once in five games,” said Austria coach Dominik Thalhammer.

“Today was close and we missed four penalties, which cost us.”

“It wasn’t our best performance, but the overall tournament has been very good for us.”

AFP

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