Following the United States’ win over England in their Women’s World Cup semi-final clash, the big question was who will they be facing in the final as they prepare to try and retain their status as world champions. Last night, as reported by BBC and The Guardian, we got an answer to that question.
The Netherlands went one on one with Sweden in their semi, which many fans expected to be a pretty tense affair. In front of 48,452 eager fans in Lyon it really did feel like this game could go one way or another, which is how the first 90 minutes of play went down.
The Dutch hit the woodwork as Sweden came close to scoring three times in this all-European affair, but in the end, it took a strike in extra time to seal the deal.
A lovely finish
Manchester United midfielder Jackie Groenen was the woman who was able to get the job done, with a nice strike in extra time to give them the advantage in the 99th minute of play. Sweden battled back and showed a great deal of heart throughout the course of the game, but it just wasn’t enough.
“The USA are already fitter than every other team. This doesn’t look good for the Dutch going into the final. They will have to have the game of their lives against the United States.” – Hope Solo
“USA have got their hands on it already for me, these teams are miles apart. It should be a walk in the park.” – Dion Dublin
“Are they even close to taking on the USA? Is even one Dutch player good enough to get into the USA team?” – Pat Nevin
Those quotes from the aforementioned BBC article in regards to the Netherlands’ chances of lifting the trophy up high in the final. In short, we think this is unbelievably disrespectful and kind of gives you an idea of just how much further pundits like Dublin and Nevin have got to go before they can even begin to comment on things they know nothing about.
At the very least, Solo provides us with a reason as to why she’s favouring the Americans, which is something we can understand. However, implying that the Dutch have no chance whatsoever is incredibly disrespectful and kind of shows you what we’re dealing with here.
The Netherlands’ best plan of attack in the final is going to be getting physical with the Americans, getting in their faces, and soaking up the pressure in the early stages of the game. If they can do that then they can start to think about slowly pushing forward, and they can also start to think about cutting through the middle of the US’ defensive structure which is what they’ve been able to do to so many teams throughout this tournament so far.
One way or another we’re expecting to see a really entertaining final, in what will be a great showcase for women’s football on the biggest stage of them all.