Netherlands made their first ever Women’s World Cup semi final by beating Italy 2-0 with an impressive second half performance in Valenciennes.
The Dutch came into this game having won all four of their matches played at the 2019 Women’s World Cup and disposed of Italy to make it five consecutive tournament wins. They were made to work for the victory in difficult conditions, though.
A sluggish and disjointed first half saw both teams struggle to handle the heat. The Dutch took a grip of things in the second half, though, opening the scoring after 70 minutes when Vivianne Miedema powered a header into the back of the net from a Sherida Spitse freekick.
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It was a Spitse delivery that created the chance for the second goal too, with Stefani van Der Gragt rising highest to guide an excellent header home. This was just one step too far for Italy who can reflect on an impressive WWC campaign.

Shanice van de Sanden of Holland Women, Stefanie van der Gragt of Holland Women, Lize Kop of Holland Women, Vivianne Miedema of Holland Women, Danique Kerkdijk of Holland Women, Inessa Kaagman of Holland Women celebrates the victory during the World Cup W

Image credit: Getty Images

TALKING POINT - Netherlands set a precedent with their second half performance

At half time, the Dutch looked to be struggling. The heat was taking its toll and Italy must have fancied their chances. However, Netherlands stepped things up in the second half. It was wave after wave of dominance for 45 minutes solid. Italy couldn’t live with them. In fact, in that groove it’s difficult to imagine anyone at this Women’s World Cup living with them.

WOMAN OF THE MATCH - Sherida Spitse (Netherlands)

Netherlands stepped things up in the second half, but it was Spitse’s set pieces that made the difference. Her delivery is among the most consistent among the Women’s World Cup and that showed in her two assists for Miedema and van Der Gragt’s goals. Spitse is more than just a freekick machine, but her set pieces give the Dutch a real weapon.

Sherida Spitse of Holland Women celebrates 0-1 during the World Cup Women match between Italy v Holland at the Stade du Hainaut on June 29, 2019 in Valenciennes France

Image credit: Getty Images

PLAYER RATINGS

Italy - Giuliani 6, Bartoli 6, Linari 5, Gama 7, Guagni 5, Cernoia 6, Giugliano 5, Galli 6, Bergamaschi 6, Bonansea 6, Giacinti 6. Subs - Boattin 5, Sabatino 6, Serturini 5.
Netherlands - Van Veenendaal 5, Van Dongen 5, Bloodworth 7, Van der Gragt 7, Van Lunteren 7, Spitse 8, Van de Donk 8, Groenen 5, Martens 6, Miedema 8, Van de Sanden 6. Subs - Dekker 5, Beerensteyn 5, Roord 5.

KEY MOMENTS

17’ Big chance for Italy! That might have been the opening goal! Bonansea flicked a cross into the box on to Bergamaschi, but while her touch was good she was falling backwards when she prodded the shot towards goal.
37’ Effort pulled wide! Giacinti got the ball out from underneath her feet and directed the shot towards goal, but it flashes wide of the far post. Van Veenendaal looked beaten by that. She was wrong-footed!
59’ Off the crossbar! Very nearly the opening goal for Netherlands! Van de Donk takes the touch on the edge of the box and curls a wonderful shot towards goal, but it comes back off the woodwork!
63’ So close to a stunner! Wow! Spitse really caught that freekick from about 30 yards out, but her effort flashes just inches wide of the post. In fact, replays show it actually clipped the outside of the woodwork!
70’ GOAL! Italy 0-1 Netherlands: The breakthrough has finally come for the Dutch! The freekick delivery into the Italian penalty area was a good one and Miedema was on hand to head into the back of the net. Giulani got a head to it, but couldn't keep the header out!
80’ GOAL! Italy 0-2 Netherlands: Is that the goal that will confirm Netherlands' place in the semi finals of the Women's World Cup? It was another excellent freekick delivery from Spitse and van der Gragt was on hand to direct an exceptional header into the back of the net.
81’ That could have been three! Miedema was through on goal, she had time to pick her spot but went for power instead. Giulani pulls off the save to push the ball over her crossbar, though.

KEY STATS

  • Netherlands have made the semi finals of the Women’s World Cup for the first time in their history.
  • Six of the last eight Netherlands goals at the Women’s World Cup have come from set pieces.
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