Underdogs Stun In Euro Quarterfinals

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It was an exciting weekend in the Netherlands, with all four quarterfinal matches of Euro tournament kicking off over the two days. When the action came to an end on Sunday night, some new names had staked a place in the semifinals, and some of the biggest names in world soccer had seen their tournament brought to an end. Here is a breakdown of all the action from the Women’s Euro Quarterfinals.

Netherlands vs. Sweden

After a strong showing at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Sweden was hoping to lock down their status as one of the top teams in Europe. But going through the Netherlands would prove to be a more difficult task than anyone had anticipated. The two teams are relatively close in FIFA Women’s World Rankings—with Sweden at No. 9 just a few spots ahead of the Netherlands in 12th. But in the end, the host nation was too much for the Swedes to handle. The Dutch earned their third clean sheet of the tournament, with goals from Martens and Miedema that sent them on to the next round. With the home crowd urging them on, they’ve looked very tough so far. And things won’t get any easier for their opponents going forward. They have already sold-out their semi-final game and will be ready to take another step closer to taking the trophy on home turf.

Denmark vs. Germany

This should have been the second match on Saturday, but ended up being postponed due to heavy rain in Rotterdam. When the match did kick off the next morning, it didn’t start well for Denmark. Isabel Kerschowski found the first goal of the match in the 3rd minute, a good start for the defending champions looking for their seventh consecutive title. But it all fell apart for Germany in the second half, when Nadia Nadim of the Portland Thorns headed the equalizer in the 49th minute and Theresa Nielsen gave her team the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute. Many in Denmark called the win the biggest in their career. In a tournament with more than a few upsets, this is certainly one of the most exciting results so far.

Austria vs. Spain

Few would have expected this quarterfinal pairing going into the tournament. Austria are debutants in this competition, but after topping their group received a matchup against Spain–who were thoroughly inconsistent in their group matches. The Spanish hadn’t scored since their opening match against Portugal, and that stayed true in this match, where they dominated possession but failed to find the net. Austria’s defense was relentless, and Spain simply couldn’t find a way through. Eventually, it ended in a penalty shootout after neither team scored in 120 minutes. It ended when Sarah Puntigam made her shot. Silvia Meseguer’s miss provided the necessary margin to seal Austria’s ticket to the semi-final. They will go on to face Denmark on Thursday. August 3rd.

England vs. France

On Sunday night, England did the impossible. For the first time in 43 years, the Lionesses defeated France, riding a narrow 1-0 margin into the semifinals. Les Bleues hadn’t had the best tournament, but it still wasn’t an easy task for England. The game was defensive, with the lone goal coming from none other than Jodie Taylor. It was her fifth goal of the tournament, putting her in good position to win the Golden Boot, and maybe even to break the scoring record for the tournament. After beating France, and thanks to Germany’s exit earlier that day, England are now the highest ranked team remaining in the tournament. That makes them the closest thing there is to a favorite, but this hasn’t been a good tournament for the traditional favorites, and England certainly won’t be sanguine about their difficult semi-finals match against the host nation in front of a sold-out crowd.

The semi-final matches will take place on Thursday, August 3rd. Denmark vs. Austria will kickoff at 12:00 EDT, while the Netherlands vs. England will kickoff at 2:45.