Jackie Groenen, The Hero Of Extra Time
What a game! Who could have thought this match was going to be so intense... 2 HOURS it lasted!? AND THEY ALMOST WENT TO PENALTIES AS WELL!? HOLY S***! Thank God Groenen appeared to seal the pass to the final of this 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup for the Netherlands.
The Netherlands, who previously beat Italy 2-0, was facing a surprising contender, Sweden, who magically turned the situation against Germany around and won 2-1, making it into the semifinals of the Women's World Cup.
This occasion marked the first time both teams have met in a Women's World Cup. The teams have met three times before, with Holland taking two and the other being a draw. Sweden, however had more major tournament experience, being this the 4th time in history they reach a world cup semifinal, while the "Oranje" made its first appearance at this stage.
The game started with the characteristic intensity of a semifinal: The Netherlands and Sweden were very similar offensively and defensively. The first chance of the match came from the boots of Swedish striker Blacktenius. In the 13th minute, the Swedish forward received a great cross into the opposition box from Jakobsson, which Dutch goalkeeper Van Veenendaal managed to save.
Sweden, Netherlands, Sweden, Netherlands... Both teams were pure fire, and no one could have guessed who was going to score the 1st goal of the match. On the 37th minute, Sweden had a very dangerous corner, which in just a few seconds became a bit of a goal-mouth scramble, however, Van Veenendaal managed to make a quick-save to prevent the kick from Hurtig.
At the very beginning of the second half, Lieke Martens needed to be subbed out by Jill Roord, after the FC Barcelona star felt a bad toe injury she had picked up early in the tournament.
On the 67th minute, Hurtig went down inside the Dutch area, after a very obvious sliding challenge from Van Lunteren over the Swedish striker. The referee and VAR, however, were in vacation mode, and the play wasn't even checked for a possible foul and penalty for the Swedish. That was the last, most important, chance before the extra time came around. FULL TIME! EXTRA TIME... IT'S ON, BABY!
The only goal of the game came just 9 extra minutes after the 90: Number '14' Jackie Groenen run onto a loose ball, just outside the box and struck with power, a ball that went across Lindahl and into the bottom-left corner of the net. GOOOAAALLL! 1-0! The Dutch fans went crazy in the stands (Even my brother was screaming like crazy. Part dutch). The Netherlands had a chance to score the 2-0, but the shot went to wide. Unluckyyyy! But, that was it. END OF THE MATCH! THE NETHERLANDS THROUGH TO ITS FIRST FINAL!
Well... It wasn't the best match I have seen this World Cup, but it was better than the UEFA Champions League final. That's for sure! On the whole, the clash was intense from start to end, and clearly, the Dutch were the team that deserved to win, but they'll have to be far better if they want to beat the almighty USA this Sunday, and lift the World Cup trophy. You can do it, girls.