France advanced to the semifinals of the UEFA women’s Euro on Saturday after defeating the Netherlands 1-0. It took 102 minutes and the team’s 24th shot of the game before the French could find the back of the Dutch net.
The Netherlands deserves all the recognition in the world for one of the most valiant defensive performances ever seen. France might have been without star striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto, but the team still had an onslaught of an attack.
France vs Netherlands Highlights
At points it felt like the Netherlands had a force field around its goal. Stefanie van der Gragt had two incredible goal line clearances. She was magnificent all game long for the Dutch on top of her two vital interventions.
France also rattled the post in the first half.
Even if the ball didn’t hit the post, it still would have had to get by goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar. The Twente goalkeeper put in an unreal shift between the sticks consistently coming up with fantastic saves.
The defensive Dutch heroics combined with some head scratching French miscues in front of goal. Grace Geyoro looked certain to have a game-winner in the 87th minute but inexplicably missed a header from point-blank range.
Van Domselaar had Wendie Renard looking to the heavens for answers when she denied the French captain a goal in the 93rd minute with a diving save.
ESPN commentator Ian Darke said during the broadcast that it felt as if the game could go until midnight and the French wouldn’t get a goal. That could’ve been the case if it weren’t for a crucial defensive error in extra time.
Dominique Janssen chopped down France’s Kadidiatou Diani in the box with a slapdash challenge that gave the French the lifeline it needed. Van Domselaar would get a finger on the ball trying to save the penalty kick, but it wouldn’t be enough.
For all the Dutch’s defensive excellence the team couldn’t create anything on offense. France outshot the Netherlands 33-to-9 in the game. The French had more shots on target, 13, than the Dutch had shots.
The result sees France make history and advance to its first Euro semifinal in history. Awaiting the French is powerhouse Germany.
France and Germany will battle for a spot in the final on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET.