Appearing in women World Cup a 2nd time, Netherlands beat Sweden in semis, set up final clash with US

Netherlands boss Sarina Wiegman hopes women will draw inspiration and “take risks” with their choices as two women are set to manage in a World Cup final.

The European champions beat Sweden 1-0 in extra time to set-up a final against holders the USA, who are managed by Portsmouth-born Jill Ellis.

Germany’s win over Sweden in 2003 was the only other time a Women’s World Cup final was managed by two women.

“What we need to do as women is to show that we have qualities,” said Wiegman.

“In the bigger picture, I think it is important that women get the chance to develop – as players, coaches and in other types of football and society.

“I also think women should have the guts to make choices and take risks to go for higher positions.”

The Netherlands, on a run of 12 straight wins in major tournaments, only qualified for the tournament for the second time and are into their first final, having been knocked out at the last 16 stage four years ago.

Wiegman said: “The potential has been in the Netherlands for a long time. The facilities weren’t there but since 2007 since the Eredivisie started and the players could train more they developed so much that they improved.

“At big tournaments they develop even more. They make transfers to big clubs in Europe. Most of the players have been at a couple of big tournaments so they believe more now.”

One of the Dutch players making a big transfer is match-winner Jackie Groenen, whose brilliant, low strike in the 99th minute edged them through.

Midfielder Groenen, 24, will leave Frankfurt in Germany to join Women’s Super League newcomers Manchester United next season and become the club’s first overseas player.

Groenen said: “I just saw a nice angle and we have been discussing it for a couple of weeks that I need to take shots more often. The ball came nicely so I just thought ‘let’s do this’.

“It is not that important to me to be the one who scores the goal. But it is still nice.

“We watched the USA game against England and of course they are a really strong team. I hope we will be able to play our own game. who knows what will happen?

“It is amazing to be able to play the final. I am so proud. It is amazing to be playing in a team that gives you self-confidence. We give that to each other.

“We never knew this would be possible. It is one more match and we could be world champions. It will be difficult but it will be incredible to win.”

Sweden were runners-up in 2003 but will now face England in the third/fourth place play-off in Lyon on Saturday and boss Peter Gerhardsson is hoping to end on a high.

“It is about the medal and ending up third feels better than fourth,” said Gerhardsson. “We will do everything in our power to do that.

“It is not a lot of time and we will need to check on players, so we will have to plan to see how many can play. The World Cup is a tough tournament.

“Once you are on the pitch it will be nice for the players to perform another match and hopefully leave with a bronze.”

Reflecting on the game, Gerhardsson said: “There is a sense of emptiness. You are not angry or sad or disappointed. Of course you are not happy. Just empty, that is what I feel like right now.”

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