Netherlands claim the last quarter-final spot

25 Jun
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Japan dominated, especially in the second half, but just couldn’t find a way through to beat Netherlands.

I love watching Japan on the ball. Their skills 1v1 are just impeccable. None of their players are afraid to take on a defender and it’s fabulous.

My 11-month-old boxer/husky mix is periodically barking at me as I write this, so I’ll be sure to add his interjections.

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Both teams looked energetic to start. It was refreshing.

Netherlands barely missed in the 5th minute on a shot by Miedema. But it was just wide.

Japan struggled to keep the ball, with passes going to no one or to Netherlands players.

A bit of a clash of heads occurred in the 14th minute, which gave Nakajima a black eye. But thankfully no one was seriously injured.

In the 17th minute, a corner actually resulted in something. Martens gave a cheeky (and almost accidental?) deflection off the outside of her foot and the ball rolled into the bottom corner for a Netherlands goal!

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Roger: “Awwwrrrr” (Translation: “That was nasty”)

That goal was a wake up call for Japan, and they began to hold possession much better. Despite holding possession, they couldn’t seem to do much with it. The chances mainly belonged to Netherlands.

In the 43rd minute, Hasegawa received a fabulous pass from Iwabuchi and neatly placed the ball over Van Veenendaal and into the top corner. It was such beautiful lead up play that also involved Sugita and Sugasawa. And the finish was so cool!

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Roger: “WOOF WOOF!” (Translation: “You’d have completely flubbed that”)

Thanks Roger…. *sigh*

Miedema nearly had another in the 44th minute, but her shot was straight at Yamashita. And, after 3 minutes of added time, that was the end of a thoroughly entertaining 1st half.

Spitse earned a freekick in the 49th minute when Iwabuchi ran into the back of her. Spitse whipped the ball around the wall but Yamashita was able to collect it.

One of the most insane plays out of the back that I’ve ever seen came in the 51st minute. Yamashita took her sweet time with the ball at her feet and was closed down by Van de Donk INSIDE THE SIX YARD LINE! But she acted like it was nothing and her pass was just calm and pretty perfect.

Sugasawa saw a shot from the top of the box go over the ball in the 57th minute.

In the 62nd minute, can we just take a moment to appreciate the beautiful first touch of Van de Donk? She completely deadened the ball from such a height. I just need a moment after that….

Roger: *whines* (Translation: “Beautiful first touch”)

Van de Donk sent a cross to Van de Sanden but Van de Sanden’s header was straight into the arms of Yamashita.

Groenen went down in the 67th minute, and it seemed serious but she thankfully got up.

In the 69th minute, Netherlands first sub was to bring in Beerenstyn for Van de Sanden.

Japan’s first chaneg came in the 73rd minute, with Momiki coming in for Nakajima.

Both teams had some phenomenal chances, with shots going wide more than some of us would have liked. But the play was so fun and exciting.

In the 79th minute, Sugita cut the ball inside after I was sure she’d taken too many touches and released a shot off the under side of the crossbar. UGH!

Then Momiki forced Van Veenendaal to make a save at full stretch. *Phew* Is anyone else exhausted?!

Roger: “arf”

Yeah, buddy… I know.

In the 86th minute, Van Es replaced Van Dongen for Netherlands. And not long after, Van de Donk was replaced by Roord.

The 88th minute saw Miedema smash the ball off Kumagai’s arm inside the box. It was deemed a handball and Netherlands had themselves a penalty while Kumagai was handed a yellow card.

Yamashita guessed wrong, and Martens rolled the ball into the right corner.

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An added 5 minutes wasn’t enough for Japan and Netherlands have earned their spot in the quarter final. They will meet Italy on Saturday.


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