We now know who the four semifinalists will be at the 2019 Women’s World Cup of Soccer in France. They will be England, the United States, the Netherlands and Sweden. On Saturday, in two all-European quarterfinal contests, the Netherlands beat Italy 2-0 and Sweden upset Germany 2-1.
In Netherlands’s shutout win over Italy in Valenciennes, the Dutch got two goals in the last 20 minutes. Both goals were headers off of free kicks by Sherida Spitse. The first goal came in the 70th minute by Vivianne Miedema and the second goal came in the 80th minute by Stefanie Van Der Gragt.
It was also a very impressive victory for Sweden. In a rematch of the gold medal game in women’s soccer from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (won by Germany 2-1), this time it was Sweden’s turn to win by the exact same score.
Germany got off to an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Lina Magull in the 16th minute, however Sweden bounced back with a game tying goal in the 22nd minute by Sofia Jakobsson and a game winning goal in the 48th minute by Stina Blackstenius. This was the first time in the knockout stages of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that the team which scored first did not win the contest.
In the group stages, three times the team that did not score first came back to win the game. Two of the matches involved Australia. On June 9, Italy came back to beat Australia 2-1 after being down 1-0 and on June 13, Australia was down 2-0 to Brazil, before scoring three unanswered goals in a 3-2 victory. The other time when the team that scored first and lost came on June 8 as South Africa had a 1-0 lead on Spain 25 minutes in, but lost 3-1.
Germany meanwhile played very sloppy defense against Sweden, and did not look like the squad that had not given up a goal in the tournament to date. Several times the Germans completely broke down defensively and allowed Sweden to generate scoring chances.
The loss was also very costly for Germany, as with the defeat they were eliminated from qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Germans, which won Olympic gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, were not one of the top three nations from Europe at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The European qualifying nations are Great Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands.
The rest of the meaningful games in the Women’s World Cup tournament will all take place in Lyon. Both semifinals will be in Lyon as the United States and England play Tuesday and the Netherlands and Sweden play Wednesday. The final will then be in Lyon on July 7.