Sweden vs Netherlands FIFAWWC Semi Finals

I was actually really looking forward to this game as both teams had been playing well throughout the tournament and the Netherlands have been a team that have really surprised me but I have to honestly say I wasn't impressed. Early on both teams were wasting possession with sloppy passes it was a little like the occasion was getting to them and they just needed to settle down.

There wasn't much to actually report on in the first half, there were a few good chances from either team with the most promising coming from Sweden at a set piece but the Netherlands held it together and managed to clear the ball. Both teams were absolutely solid in defence and that is one of the reasons the game was so quiet, they just couldn't get through each others back line.

I have to say it really was as though each team was waiting for the other to crack and tire by just passing the ball around the field just hoping for the opposition to make a silly mistake so they could try get through. It was as though they were worried about being caught on the counter attack as though it was their weaknesses. If either of the teams looked like they wanted to take control of the game I think it would have been a million times more exciting. 

Both goalkeepers managed to pull off some great saves to keep their teams in the game, in fact the saves were possibly the best part of the 90 minutes. Netherlands can be great from set pieces but none of theirs from yesterday actually looked like a massive threat which if they had been executed better they may have been a couple of goals up but for some reason it just wasn't working out for them.

Coming towards the end of the 90 minutes you could see both teams starting to get frustrated with silly fouls been given away and once again wasting possession, it really wasn't what I was expecting, I just sat hoping someone could break the dead lock before the final whistle so I didn't have to sit through another 30 minutes of the game, but unfortunately nobody could break it and the game ended up heading to extra time.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 99th minute by Man Utd's new signing Jackie Groenen and it was a goal that stemmed from some great passing and movement, granted the ball took a deflection on it's way to Groenen but she slotted it home to the bottom corner to finally put the Netherlands in front. 

The Netherlands then held onto the lead to progress to play the USA in the final. One thing I did notice for the remainder of extra time is that the Netherlands didn't seem to tire as much as the Swedish did which will hopefully mean they don't need too much recovery before the final on Sunday and who knows Sweden may still be suffering before their 3rd place match on Saturday which could massively benefit England as they only played 90 minutes against the USA. 

Asllani went down in extra time with what seemed to be a nasty injury. The way the ball hit her head it looked like it had just jerked her neck at a nasty angle with quite a bit of force, it was awful to see her being stretchered off as she has definitely been one of the best Swedish players of the tournament, especially one who seems to have had the most influence on the games she has played in. Will she be fit enough for Saturday against England or is she going to be sat on the bench? It will be interesting to see but I really do hope she is ok.

As I said previously I felt quite let down by this game it had the potential to be so much more but both teams wanted to play it safe. But I do believe the Netherlands were just that little bit better throughout the game and deserved to progress to the final. Although they are definitely going to have to up their game to put up a fight against the USA they can't play like this again.

So it is decided England take on Sweden on Saturday in the 3rd place match and the USA take on the Netherlands on Sunday in the final. But who is going to come out on top? I know I can't wait for these games.

See you soon

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