Arsenal’s Miedema helps Dutch to first World Cup semi-final
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema scored her 61st international goal and picked up the player of the match award as the Netherlands reached the Women’s World Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 win over Italy in Valenciennes.
Miedema latched onto a Sherida Spitse free-kick in the 70th minute to thump a header beyond Laura Giuliani's outstretched hand.
And Stefanie van der Gragt then sealed the victory in the last minute as she connected perfectly with another whipped in cross from Spitse to head past the stranded Giuliani.
Italy had the first clear opportunity, with Milan's Valentina Bergamaschi scuffing a golden chance after 18 minutes when she was played in one on one.
Miedema's then thought she had put the Dutch ahead on 30 minutes as she did enough to trick her defender but hit a tame effort straight at the keeper.
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New Manchester United signing Jackie Groenen saw her shot blocked by Italian captain Sara Gama when the ball looked to be sailing high into the roof of the net.
But it was a game of Dutch domination as they had 15 shots in the second half alone, including Danielle van de Donk's superb chip from the edge of the area that just curled wide of the target.
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The Netherlands have also qualified for next year's Olympics in Tokyo as a result of being one of the final three European teams in the World Cup.
It will be the Dutch's first ever World Cup semi-final and they will meet Sweden who shocked the football world as they knocked out Leonie Maier's Germany in their quarter-final tie.