World Cup field narrows as knockout stages get underway
The Netherlands women’s national team continued its historic Women’s World Cup run on Saturday in Valenciennes, France.
The Dutch capitalized off two set pieces to halt Italy’s dream run, while extending their own, in a 2-0 victory in a 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinal.
The Oranje await the winner of Germany-Sweden in Wednesday’s semifinal.
The Netherlands have never advanced this far in the Women’s World Cup.
Vivianne Miedema, who plays her club soccer for Arsenal in England, connected off Sherida Spitse’s free kick in the 70th minute. Spitse also delivered an assist off another free kick, when Stefanie vam der Gragt headed in an 80th minute goal.
All four of the Oranje’s goals in the knockout stage have come off set pieces. Now they’ll aim to do something the men’s team has never done and that’s win a World Cup title.
The men’s team, which invented Total Futbol in the 1970s, have finished runner-up at the World Cup three times and reached the semifinals another time.
The women’s team had never qualified for a World Cup until 2015, where they advanced to the Round of 16 before losing to runner-up Japan.
While the Dutch made its first Women’s World Cup semifinal, the Italians saw their dream run end. Italy shocked the tournament with an upset of Australia in the group stage, before later topping the group.
Italy then made the quarterfinals for the first time since the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991. Italy played in its first WWC since 1999.