EURO 2022: the Netherlands reach the knockout stage after 4-1 victory
The Netherlands reached the knockout stage in the Euro 2022 tournament after a 4-1 victory against Switzerland. The goals came from youngster Romee Leuchter, Victoria Pelova, and an own goal from Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic. The Leeuwinnen will now face France next Saturday in the quarterfinals.
The Netherlands knew they would need to win and do better Sweden's result vs. Portugal to finish top of the group. A win for Switzerland would result in them going through and The Netherlands exiting the tournament at the first hurdle. Manager Mark Parsons made two changes from his side against Portugal last Wednesday, with Aniek Nouwen and Jackie Groenen replacing Marisa Olislagers and Damaris Egurrola.
The match was played at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England. The attendance reached 22,596 people. This set a new record for the biggest crowd to watch a Women's Euro group stage game in which the host country was not playing, according to UEFA. The stadium where the match was held is home to Sheffield United, whose men's side plays in the English Championship.
As opposed to the Leeuwinnen's first half during their last match against Portugal, in which four goals were scored, this first half was a much more low-key affair. Dutch keeper Daphne van Domselaar was first put to the test after 12 minutes when a long-distance shot by Sandy Maendly was tipped over for a corner.
The Netherlands thought they won a penalty after 20 minutes when referee Luliana Demetrescu pointed to the spot after Swiss goalkeeper Gaelle Thalmann was whistled for bringing down Lineth Beerensteyn. However, the VAR official, Maurizio Mariani, intervened, telling Demestrecu to recheck it. Demetrescu did and decided to overturn her decision resulting in a Switzerland goal kick.
The most significant danger from the Netherlands in the first half came from Lieke Martens. Her header was knocked over the bar by Thalmann. By comparison, Sweden went into halftime 2-0 up against Portugal in the other group game.
The Netherlands took the lead after 49 minutes with the same duo that gave Portugal many problems in the last game. A corner from team captain Sheridan Spitse was headed towards goal by Stefanie van der Gracht; Ana-Maria Grnogrocevic tried to clear the ball but inadvertently put it into her own net.
Switzerland leveled only four minutes later when Ramona Bachmann beat her counterpart to serve the ball up on a platter for Geraldine Reuteler. Reuteler took full advantage to roll the ball past van Domselaar.
Ramona Bachmann broke away again three minutes later, passing the ball to Columba Sow, but Sow did not have the same calmness that Reuteler showed and missed both her first shot and the rebound hitting the post in the process.
Gaelle Thalmann made her first mistake of the match after 84 minutes, and it was a costly one. The goalkeeper came out of her goal to punch away a Lynn Wilms cross but was beaten to the ball by substitute Romee Leuchter, who headed the ball into the empty net.
The Netherlands kept pushing after the goal and made it 3-1 five minutes later. After a lengthy VAR check, Victoria Pelova was deemed onside when she poked the ball past Thalmann from a Sheridan Spitse free kick.
Victoria Pelova was also involved with the last goal of the match when her scuffed shot dropped right into the path of Romee Leuchter. The 21-year-old finished it off by scoring her second of the game.
The Netherlands now only needed one more goal to beat Sweden to the top spot and avoid the highly-rated France team, as Sweden beat Portugal by a score of 5-0. Still, the only remaining moment of danger was a shot from Sheridan Spitse, which went comfortably over.
The Netherlands will now play France next Saturday at New York Stadium in York, England, in the quarter-finals.