Netherlands get past Sweden in listless semifinal at Women's World Cup

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Whether it was the occasion - both teams were attempting to reach the final for the first time, the sudorific conditions or, simply, two evenly-matched sides successfully negating each other's threats, neither team particularly sparkled.

"We want to go away with something to show for the hard work", said Neville. The Dutch thrilled fans with this wonderful new concept in the 1970s - and reached the World Cup finals in 1974 and '78. "It's tough right now, but once on the pitch, it's quite nice for most players to play another match and perform excellently and leave with a bronze", said Gerhardsson.

Wiegman, a former midfielder for the national side when they were outside the elite, took over in January 2017 and has led the team to 12 straight wins in tournament football, many coming through late goals.

Although she started, the 26-year-old was unable to make her usual contribution and went off at a halftime but she said she had faith in her chances of recovery. While Sweden packed the centre with players, trying to diminish the space that the Dutch could exploit, Vivianne Miedema and Beerensteyn were isolated for better parts of the game. "We played better in the second half. I'm really proud of the girls".

The captain routinely tipped over unsafe inswinging corners and instinctively saved with her foot a close-range toe poke from Lina Hurtig shortly before halftime. Her teammates then ground out the next 20 minutes to close out the game.

"Now we have to play a big semi, but if we play our game and at the level we played against Germany I think we have a good chance". I'm going to do the recovery. Jackie Groenen scored in the 99th minute of play. "I can't even believe it yet".

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Yet, Groenen made the most of her opportunity nine minutes into the first half of extra time firing a shot from the top of the penalty area into the bottom corner and it was all the Netherlands would need.

Jackie Groenen's arrowed strike would eventually see the Netherlands through in extra time, winning 1-0 after a gruelling 120 minutes of football, but now they face a long road to recovery before Sunday's final - all with a day less to do so, too.

The victor will face the U.S. in the final on Sunday, July 7 at 4pm BST.

The Netherlands plays Sweden in their semifinals matchup on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Two years later they won the European title as hosts and on the strength of that victory, expectations skyrocketed entering just their second World Cup.

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