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German domination is over
 Women's Football Euros News - 3 Aug 2017
 
Euros News - German domination is over - 3 Aug 2017 - Women's Football NewsThere will be no seventh straight UEFA Women's Championship title for Germany after Denmark came from behind to beat them 2-1 in the quarter finals in Rotterdam.
 
The Germans had been nowhere near their best during a disjointed campaign and Denmark had looked one of the best attacking teams, nevertheless the result still came as a huge surprise and sent shockwaves through the tournament.
 
After the initial attempt to play the game on Saturday night had been wiped out by torrential rain and a waterlogged pitch, the teams met again the following day and it looked to be business as normal when Germany took the minute with a minute on the clock. Isobel Kerschowski cut in from the left and her shot should have been dealt with by Stina Lykke Petersen, who made a hash of it and could only help the ball into her own net.
 
Denmark responded with Pernille Harder drilling a shot inches wide and as half time approached, Katrine Veje passed up a good chance when she shot straight at Almuth Schult.
 
The Danes had finished the first half brightly and within four minutes of the restart, they were level. Although a flag went up for a foul on Stine Larsen, play was waved on and the Germans committed the cardinal offence of not playing to the whistle, allowing Larsen space to get to the line and cross to the far post, where Nadia Nadim climbed above Anna Blasse and powered home a firm header.
 
All of a sudden it was all Denmark with the excellent Harder pulling the strings; Sanne Troelsgaard getting in and bringing out a good save from Schult. Veje then went even closer from Nadim's low cross but her shot hit the bar with the goal at her mercy.
 
Germany began to grab the initiative once again with Anja Mittag heading inches over and Lina Magull's long range shot being deflected just wide. However the big moment came with seven minutes remaining, Nadim's pass releasing Frederikke Thogersen down the right where her cross was headed in by an unmarked Theresa Nielsen.
 
There was little time for Germany to hit back, Denmark indeed stood firm and held out to become the first team to beat them in a knockout match in the Euros since doing it themselves in 1993.
 
The Netherlands meanwhile celebrated reaching the semi finals for the second time in three tournaments as they won 2-0 against former winners Sweden. The hosts had swept through their group with three successive victories and looked to build on their confident start by putting their experienced opponents under pressure.
 
The Dutch were rewarded on 32 minutes when they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box for a Jessica Samuelsson foul on Vivienne Miedema, which did look to have been inside the area. Lieke Martens made the most of things though by planting a low left foot shot inside the far corner past an unsighted Hedvig Lindahl.
 
Early in the second half, Sweden passed up a glorious opportunity to equalise when Kosovare Asllani's pass released Fridolina Rolfo on goal where she dragged her shot wide and Stina Blackstenius chased a long ball forward but shot wastefully over with only Sari van Veenendaal to beat. It was the first time that Sweden had been an attacking force in the match but the Dutch rode out the storm and responded with Miedema heading over from a Martens cross.
 
Martens was then to provide a superb through ball to release Shanice van de Sanden and she left the Swedish defence in her wake before teeing up Miedema for the simplest of finishes and the Dutch were two ahead.
 
Miedema almost added a third following good work from Jackie Groenen and although Lotta Schelin did have a goal ruled out by an offside flag, the Netherlands saw the game out to take their place in the last four and bring an end to Pia Sundhage's reign as Sweden coach.
 
One of the four quarter finals did go all the way to penalties and it came at Tilburg, where Austria dispatched Spain following a goalless draw.
 
In a dull and often tedious encounter, Spain once again dominated possession but gave another punchless display against a well organised Austrian side who were content to sit back and hit on the break. Maria Paz did go close with a glancing header and Silvia Meseguer drove a shot narrowly over but despite Vicky Losada's best efforts in midfield, they could not find a way through.
 
Austria came into the game more as an attacking force in the second half and it took a fine save from Sandra Panos to keep out a downward header from Nadine Prohaska. However this was a rare piece of action for either goalkeeper as the pace got slower, Austria had controlled matters better after the break whilst the baffling substitution of Losada had taken away Spain's most potent threat.
 
Extra time, as it so often does these days, saw even fewer chances at either end as the fear factor engulfed both sides. Olga Garcia did shoot wide for Spain when well placed but neither team remotely looked like making a breakthrough and the match dragged into a penalty shootout.
 
The first five kicks all found the net but then Manuela Zinsberger pulled off a fine save to her left from Silvia Meseguer. After Viktoria Pinther scored and Marta Corredera replied to keep Spanish hopes alive, it was left to Sarah Puntigam to slot home the winning penalty and spark off the increasingly familiar Austrian celebrations as they reached the last four at the first attempt.
 
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
 
(top) Nadia Nadim heads firmly home for Denmark's equaliser against Germany
(middle) Danish captain Pernille Harder is closed down by Sara Dabritz
(bottom) Theresa Nielsen scores the historic winner for Denmark

 

 
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