France fend off Holland to claim last Euro 2022 semi-final slot

The semi-final line-up for Euro 2022 is complete after France finally saw off holders Holland after extra time on Saturday.

Eve Perisset scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the 102nd minute at Rotherham’s New York Stadium.

The French will feel victory was just reward after they created a host of chances. They racked up a remarkable 33 attempts on goal, 13 of which were on target and one hit the woodwork. Efforts were cleared off the line and Dutch goalkeeper Daphne Van Domselaar was one of the players of the match

France will now go on to play Germany in Milton Keynes next Wednesday for a place in the final. The other semi-final between hosts England and Sweden takes place on Tuesday.

Coaches praise players

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Both managers spoke of their pride after the final whistle in Rotherham.

For France, it is the first time they have reached the last four of a women’s Euros.

Coach Corinne Diacre said: “I’m very proud because this team aimed at a big target. This team gives absolutely everything.  We would like to have scored earlier but we were up against an incredible Dutch goalkeeper.”

The defeat ended Holland’s five-year reign  as European champions.

Coach Mark Parsons said: “There’s not a player with anything left in the tank, in their bodies. They gave everything. I’m proud.”

Bronze wants Euros gold

Lucy Bronze has enjoyed a glittering career at club level with Women’s Super League titles, Champions League and FA Cup successes among her medal collection, not to mention individual honours such as world and European player of the year awards. International prizes have so far eluded her but, with England now preparing to face Sweden in the semi-finals, she realises she has a chance to put that right.

“England’s always been my biggest focus and my entire career I’ve wanted to lift a trophy for England,” she said. “It’s a huge opportunity, I know, to tick that box off.”

England chasing records as well as trophy

Hosts England have attracted an aggregate crowd of 157,497 to their four games so far. That includes a competition-record 68,871 for their opener against Austria and a new quarter-final best for a Euros of 28,994 at the Amex Stadium for the clash with Spain. As they chase glory, they may now have a Euros goals record in their sights. Sarina Wiegman’s side have notched 16 goals so far, five short of the mark Germany hit when they won the tournament in 2009.

Stat of the day

Van Domselaar produced 11 saves, the most in the tournament so far, as Holland repelled wave after wave of French attacks but it was ultimately not enough as Perisset’s spot-kick found a way in.

Quote of the day

As players on the pitch we never had any doubts. The team was perfect. The leaders really pushed us forward and we kept believing.

France’s Bacha, who had a big influence after coming off the bench, praises her team-mates.

Post of the day

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July 26

Semi-final: England v Sweden (8pm, Bramall Lane, Sheffield)

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