France 1-0 Netherlands
by Jean-Pierre Thiesset (24/7/22)
Above: Ève Périsset dispatches the winning goal from the penalty spot. Photo: Equipe de France Feminine.
France finally ended their run of defeats at the quarter-final stage of major tournaments by seeing off the Netherlands after extra-time in Rotherham.
France were dominant from the opening whistle. They monopolised the ball at the beginning of the match. Delphine Cascarino, outstanding all night, forced Daphne van Domselaar, the Dutch goalkeeper, into making a superb save after 21 minutes.
Within seven minutes, Cascarino was at it again with a superb shot from 20 metres which came off of the right hand post at the 28th minute. The opportunities continued to rack up for the French. The next went the way of Melvine Malard but Stefanie van der Gragt saved on her goal line – the first of a series of sensational personal interventions by the Dutch defender.
Despite the strong domination from France, mustering 12 shots, six of which were on target, there remained a lack of efficiency in front of goal – something that has dogged the team for months.
France players restart the second half as they played the first with quick passes to go forward with rapidity. Just after the hour mark, Olympique Lyonnias youngster Selma Bacha replaced Malard and she absolutely bossed the remainder of the encounter on the left.
Within a minute of Bacha’s introduction, it took another goal line intervention from van der Gragt to deny France. Bacha was involved once more with a shot that was heading in until van Domselaar pushed it away brilliantly with her hand. The Dutch custodian was called into action twice more in stoppage time at the end of the match as she repelled a Cascarino shot and a typically towering Wendie Renard header.
No goals at the end of regular time where France was not efficient enough to score despite 22 shots with 11 on target, so the game headed into extra-time.
Finally France managed to get the ball into the net as despite being originally waved away by referee Ivana Martinčić, VAR intervened to correctly rule that Dominique Janssen fouled Kadidiatou Diani. New Chelsea signing Ève Périsset stepped up to dispatch the penalty into the net.
This was an outstanding performance at times from France. Cascarino, Diani, Perisset, Karchaoui, Mbock, and Bacha who made a great appearance from the bench bringing speed and spontaneity in the game. If France can join their sensational creativity with improved ability to finish, then Germany are in for a seriously tough battle at Milton Keynes in Wednesday’s semi-final.
Teams: FRANCE 4-3-3: Peyraud-Magnin, Karchaoui, Renard, Mbock, Périsset (Torrent 106′), Toletti (Palis 106′), Bilbault, Geyoro (Matéo 88′), Cascarino, Malard (Bacha 62′), Diani (Sarr 106′).
Scorer: Périsset (pen) 102′
NETHERLANDS (4-3-3): van Domselaar, Casparij (Nouwen 106′), Janssen, van der Gragt, Wilms (Egurrola 115′), Spitse (Leuchter 106′), van de Donk (Brugts 72′), Groenen, Pelova, Miedema, Beerensteyn (Roord 46′).
Referee: Ivana Martinčić (Croatia).