Sweden and the Netherlands Advance to the Semifinals
Stina Blackstenius scored the go-ahead goal just minutes into the second half, and Sweden surprised Germany with a 2-1 quarterfinal victory in Rennes, France, on Saturday at the Women’s World Cup.
The second-ranked Germans, who won back-to-back World Cup titles in 2003 and 2007, were the presumptive favorites on their side of the bracket. Instead, they will head home.
Ninth-ranked Sweden goes on to face the Netherlands in a semifinal match on Wednesday in Lyon. The Dutch defeated Italy, 2-0, earlier Saturday. The United States plays England in the other semifinal on Tuesday. The final is July 7.
Lina Magull’s fantastic finish on a half-volley put Germany up in the 16th minute, with Sara Däbritz setting up a shot that the veteran goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl couldn’t get to.
Sweden’s Sofia Jakobsson tied it in the 22nd minute with a strike that went under the outstretched leg of German goalkeeper Almuth Schult.
It was the first goal the Germans had allowed at the World Cup, stopping a streak of 381 scoreless minutes. In 2007, Germany went a record 540 minutes without conceding a goal.
Blackstenius scored on a rebound off a header by Fridolina Rolfo just about three minutes into the second half to break the stalemate.
Lindahl, playing in her fifth World Cup, finished with five saves in the match.
The Germans had won 12 straight matches going into the World Cup.
With the win, Sweden secured a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, along with the Netherlands and Great Britain. The top three European teams at the World Cup qualify for an Olympic berth.
NETHERLANDS 2, ITALY 0 Vivianne Miedema and Stefanie van der Gragt headed in free kicks to send the Netherlands into its first Women’s World Cup semifinal with a victory over Italy.
In the sweltering heat of the northeast French city of Valenciennes, the set-piece specialists of the tournament made the most of Sherida Spitse’s deliveries to secure victory for the Netherlands, the reigning European champion.
Miedema nodded in from Spitse’s delivery from the left side in the 70th minute to claim her 61st goal in 80 appearances for the Netherlands — and Miedema is still only 22.
Ten minutes later, van der Gragt powered in a towering header when Spitse swung in a free kick from the right.
The Dutch have made the semifinals in only their second World Cup appearance, having reached the round of 16 in 2015.
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