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France rely on a penalty to break their quarter-final curse, as they dominate the Netherlands.

Updated: Jul 25



France 1-0 Netherlands (AET)

Périsset (102’ p)


 

Despite what the score line suggests, this was anything but a cagey affair.

An Eve Périsset penalty in extra time won the game for France. Difficult to believe that it had to come to that, when France could’ve realistically won about 8-0.


The Netherlands did not really look up to it, even with the returning Vivianne Miedema, who dragged herself through 120 minutes having just had COVID.


Like Sweden, France made hard work of it, but they got there in the end.


 

Van Domselaar and Van der Gragt vs France.


Like they have tended to thus far, France started like a house on fire. The Netherlands couldn’t really cope. They weren’t helping themselves either, setting up quite a few French attacks. It was practically Portugal level defensive chaos.


There could be a 300 page novel written about the amount of chances France had in the first half alone.


Sandie Toletti perhaps had the pick of them, when she absolutely skied a shot, unmarked from inside the box.


Wendie Renard also won a few headers from corners, as she usually does, but for some reason wasn’t far off the edge of the box when winning said headers. She’s good but not that good.


Daphne Van Domselaar (easily goalkeeper

of the tournament) was very busy. Stefanie Van der Gragt, also very busy, with 3 goal line clearances across the game, she effectively shared Dutch goalkeeping duties with Van Domselaar.


The Netherlands were clinging on for dear life by the end of the half and hauled themselves to the half time whistle.


 

France dwindle again in the second half, but the Netherlands still look out of sorts.


In their group games, France scored early, then dwindled in the second half. They did the dwindling but weren’t winning, which gave the Netherlands opportunity to get back into the game.


The Netherlands did improve. Jill Roord, who should have started really, came on at half time and did make a difference. But Pauline Peyraud-Magnin in the French goal was only forced into one straight forward save.


Defensively, it was clear that the Dutch were a disaster waiting to happen, and had heroic performances from Van Domselaar and Van der Gragt, as well as some very poor finishing from France, to thank for the score line not being rather different.


They also looked very out of sorts going forward. Very slow and disjointed. It looked like they were relying on Miedema (who understandably looked exhausted) to work miracles.


Back to France’s dwindling. Grace Geyoro managed one of the misses of the tournament with 4 minutes of normal time remaining. Delphine Cascarino sent a cross to the back post which couldn’t of been more on Geyoro’s head if she tried. Somehow Geyoro put it wide from about 4 yards out - she would’ve had nightmares about that for the rest of her life if France would’ve ended up losing.


Then, Van Domselaar made one of the saves of the tournament in the dying seconds, palming a Renard header round the post at full stretch. Renard’s reaction summed it up, she couldn’t believe it.


 

France finally get there.


At long last, the deadlock was broken in the first half of extra time.


Dominique Janssen lunged into Kadidiatou Diani from behind in the box, after a great pass from Clara Mateo. She got none of the ball and all of Diani.


VAR’s first action of the night was to award the penalty. After Renard’s penalty missing escpades against Belgium, Eve Périsset took it. She held her nerve amongst the boos of the Dutch fans.


The goal seemed to wake France up. They started playing like they were the team that needed a goal. The Netherlands looked shattered and as a result were lacking any urgency in what was a desperate time of need.


The Netherlands threw the kitchen sink at it more in the second half, throwing Van der Gragt up front with 5 minutes remaining, hoping for more heroics, at the other end of the pitch.


They were having a go, but France were picking them off and actually had more chances than them, on the break.


Van der Gragt could only muster a header well wide in the closing minutes, before the Netherlands were officially out of the tournament, with a bit of a whimper.


The injuries and COVID cases didn’t help the Dutch, but they just never really looked like they had it in them throughout their 4 games.


The post Sarina Wiegman era is off to a rough start. It looks as though it might be a bit of a tactical rebuild job for Mark Parsons in the next 12 months leading up to the World Cup - if he still has the job by then that is.


 

France’s love affair with Rotherham comes to an end.


France leave their new English home ground in Rotherham with a 100% record. They now move down south for the first time to Milton Keynes, to take on Germany, in their first ever semi-final of a European Championship.


Neither team looked convincing in all areas in their quarter-finals, but along with England, they have been the best performing teams and both have quite a few of the best players in women’s football.


It’s set up to be a blockbuster - (cue a 0-0…).

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