Netherlands reach World Cup semi final

Netherlands reach World Cup semi final

Vivianne Miedema scored her 61st international goal and picked up the player of the match as the Netherlands reached the Women’s World Cup semi-finals after a 2-0 win over Italy in Valenciennes.

The Arsenal forward latched on the end of a Sherida Spitse free-kick in the 70th minute to thump a header beyond Laura Giuliani’s outstretched hand.

Stefanie van der Gragt then sealed the victory in the last minute as she connected perfectly with another whipped in cross from Spitse to head past the stranded Giuliani.

Italy who had the first clearcut opportunity, with Milan’s Valentina Bergamaschi scuffing a golden chance after 18 minute when she was played in one on one.

Miedema’s then thought she had put the Dutch ahead on 30 minutes as she did enough to trick her defender but she hit a tame effort straight at the keeper.

New Manchester United signing Jackie Groenen then saw her shot was blocked by Italian captain Sara Gama when the ball looked to be sailing high into the roof of the net.

It was a game of Dutch domination as they had 15 shots in the second half alone, including Danielle van de Donk’s superb chip from the edge of the area that just curled wide of the target.

The Netherlands have also qualified for next year’s Olympics in Tokyo as a result of being one of the final three European teams in the World Cup.

It will be the Dutch’s first ever World Cup semi-final and they will meet Sweden who shocked the football world as they knocked out Germany.

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