LYON, France – Thanks to Jackie Groenen’s extra-time goal, the European champions Netherlands came out the biggest surprise-pack in this World Cup, beating four-time semifinalists Sweden 1-0 on Wednesday.
Running onto a loose ball just outside the box, the Frankfurt playmaker launched a right-footed strike and just saw the ball flying across the Swedish goalie Hedvig Lindahl and into the goal’s bottom left corner on 99 minutes.
“I just saw a good angle. We’ve talked about it for a couple of weeks that I need to take shots more often. The ball just came really nicely and I thought, ‘let’s do this,'” Groenen said after the game.
With the 120-minute victory, Sarina Wiegman’s team set up a final showdown with defending champions United States, also here in the stade de Lyon on Sunday. As for Sweden, they will play England in the third-place match in Nice on Saturday.
“It’s the whole development in the Netherlands and also the individuals that made bigger steps,” said Wiegman. “They are very experienced now, and they believe they can perform well.”
“Belief is also one of the things that made it happen,” she added.
“We’re playing a very skilled team. That’s what happened,” commented Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson at a post-match press conference.
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“Now it’s about the medal. Ending up third of course feels a lot better than ending up fourth. We’ll do everything in our power to try to do that,” he added.