Netherlands set up clash against France as group stage reaches final
Goals were plentiful on Sunday as Sweden and the Netherlands secured comfortable wins that saw Peter Gerhardsson’s Swedes top the group despite a series of late Dutch goals against Switzerland. This means that in a seismic quarter-final, the defending champions of Mark Parsons will have to face France, who have looked very impressive in this tournament so far.
The Dutch, backed by a large, vocal home crowd at Bramall Lane, took a while to get going in Sheffield but it ended with excitement and belated belief that they could avoid France in the last eight. They scored three goals in the final ten minutes as Romee Leuchter netted twice to come out on top for her country.
That frantic finish which included a VAR delay saw Parsons wave his side around the halfway line, knowing two more goals would have been enough to secure them top spot. It didn’t quite happen, but the Netherlands know they can do badly against France next time around.
This is certainly one of the fixtures of the round, which will also see England take on pre-tournament favorites Spain. For Sweden, their reward for finishing top of Group C and scoring five times past Portugal remains to be determined, but they will face the runners-up in Group D, which will be decided tonight.
This is the last group to be completed and in a thrilling final all teams can still qualify for the quarter-finals, with France having already booked their place as group winners. Iceland look like they’re dealing with it, despite currently sitting in second place with two points. They face France tonight and hope Corinne Deacon will make several changes in order to get a result against the strongest side in the group.
Elsewhere, it will be a straight shootout between Italy and Belgium, who both lost to France and drew with Iceland. Both countries are locked on one point each but Belgium have a much stronger goal difference after avoiding a hammer blow from the French. That means one point will be enough to see them through, but only if Iceland lose by more than one goal.
This clash in Rotherham will be the one to watch tonight with everything to gain, and Sweden will be watching closely to see who they face in the last eight.
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