Jackie Groenen was the hero on Wednesday night as her well taken goal ensured that Netherlands made it to their maiden FIFAWWC final where they will be facing holders USA.
It was a keenly contested affair in Lyon as the Netherlands and Sweden couldn’t find the breakthrough in regulation time; no thanks to both the Swedish and Dutch goalkeepers who were at their best, making a couple of crucial saves to keep their respective sides in the game.
Similarly in the first period of extra-time it was looking like the match would need penalties to decide which side goes through but just on the stroke of the 99th minute, Jackie Groenen took her chance with a good strike which ended in the back of the net.
Speaking on her goal after the game Groenen said “I saw a nice angle. We’ve been discussing this for a couple of weeks now, that I need to take shots more often. The ball just came really nicely, and I thought, ‘Let’s do this.’”
Head coach of the Dutch Ladies Sarina Wiegman who was full of praise for her side attributes the reigning European Champions’ progress in the last few years to the decision to have the Eredivisie.
“The potential for the Netherlands has been there for a long time. Since 2007, when the Eredivisie started and players got better facilities and could train more, the players developed so much that they improved. And then when you’re at big tournaments, like European Championships and World Cups, they develop even more.
“So it’s the whole development in the Netherlands, and also the individuals that made bigger steps. They are very experienced now, and they believe they can perform well.”
England and Sweden will now look to fight for the bronze medal in Saturday’s third place match in Nice while USA make it a date with Netherlands in the final for a chance to retain the trophy they won four years ago.