Women’s World Cup: Netherlands break Japanese hearts; advance to quarter-finals

Last-gasp penalty sees the Netherlands through to quarters

The Netherlands reached the women’s World Cup quarter-finals for the first time when Lieke Martens’ last-gasp penalty earned it a 2-1 victory against Japan on Tuesday.
Martens put the Dutch in front after 17 minutes, only for Yui Hasegawa to level on the stroke of halftime, but the forward sent the European champion through with a spot kick in the last minute.
Women’s World Cup: Netherlands break Japanese hearts; advance to quarter-finals

Japan, which hit the woodwork twice, dominated the second half but lacked the finishing touch.
The Netherlands, taking part in only its second women’s World Cup, will play Italy in Valenciennes on Saturday after the Azzurre beat China 2-0 earlier on Tuesday.

Early domination

The Oranje dominated early on with Vivianne Miedema’s shot hitting the post and they were rewarded in the 17th minute when Martens back-heeled a corner into the net to open the scoring.
Japan, however, had its chances with Yuika Sugasawa racing through only to see her curled shot crash against the post.
It deservedly equalised two minutes before the interval as Hasegawa scored with a cool finish after being superbly played through by Mana Iwabuchi.
The pace dropped after the break, with the Netherlands controlling the match without putting Japan under the cosh.

Half chances

Japan only mustered half chances until the 79th minute, when Hina Sugita’s rising shot hit the crossbar just before Sari van Veenendaal was forced to save at full-stretch to deny Yuka Momiki.
The game eventually went the Netherlands’s way when Saki Kumagai handled the ball in the area and Martens converted the resulting penalty.
The Netherlands’ victory ensured that seven of the eight quarter-finalists were European.
The results: The Netherlands 2 (Martens 17, 90-pen) bt Japan 1 (Hasegawa 43); Italy 2 (Giacinti 15, Galli 49) bt China 0.

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