Shocks aplenty as big guns toppled
Denmark knock out Germany in biggest upset of the tournament
France fall in quarters again, this time to England
Austria edge out Spain to continue historic run
England, Denmark and Austria advanced to the semi-finals of UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 on Sunday, a day on which two historic runs came to an end. After reigning champions Germany had seen their 22-year reign as queens of Europe come to an end in what was the shock result of the day, England then scored their first win over France in normal time in over four decades.
Also packing their bags are a Spain side who struggled in front of goal again, while the departing French fell short of the semis once more.
Results *Germany 1-2 Denmark Austria 0-0 Spain (Austria win 5-3 on penalties) England 1-0 France*
Danes roll on Germany arrived in the Netherlands bidding for a seventh consecutive continental title and were widely expected to remain on course for it when they took on the Danes. Steffi Jones’ side even had the luxury of taking a third-minute lead, when Denmark keeper Stina Lykke Petersen could only palm Isabel Kerschowski’s curling shot into the back of her net.
Though the Germans dominated the rest of the first half, with Dzsenifer Marozsan pulling the strings up front, the Scandinavians stayed in the game and pulled level four minutes after the restart thanks to a Nadia Nadim header.
The chances then flowed at both ends, but it was the Danes who landed the killer blow through defender Theresa Nielsen, who nodded home unmarked with seven minutes remaining.
More to Austria than beginners’ luck Tournament newcomers Austria have been a revelation in the Netherlands. After topping their group, the combative Austrians showcased their strengths against Spain once more, standing firm at the back and breaking forward at speed.
Big things were expected of Spain, but not for the first time in the Netherlands, their neat possession game was undone by a lack of cutting edge up front. Jorge Vilda’s side take their leave of the tournament with just one victory and two goals scored in four matches.
A hard-fought game produced little goalmouth action. Though Spain saw more of the ball and had more to offer than their opponents, they created few openings, with the still-unbeaten Austrians edging through on penalties.
England end hoodoo No doubt aware of what was at stake, England and France cancelled each other out in a cautious first half that produced few chances.
The first goal was always going to prove crucial and it was the English who got it. Full-back Lucy Bronze was the instigator, winning the ball in her own half and driving forward before playing in Jodie Taylor, who stroked the ball home to continue her excellent run of form. The striker now has five goals to her name, from only seven attempts on goal.
Inspired by the incisive Claire Lavogez, Les Bleues came close to an equaliser on a couple of occasions. England held firm, however, to secure their first victory over the French in 43 years.
The stats 24 - the number of years since Germany last lost a knockout match in the competition. The eight-time champions and the winners of the last six Women’s EUROS, the Germans’ previous defeat outside the group stage was a penalty-shootout semi-final loss at the hands of Italy in 1993.
6 - the number of hours Spain went without scoring by the end of their match with Austria. Following Amanda Sampedro and Vicky Losada’s strikes against Portugal in their opening game, La Roja failed to find the back of the net again.
0 - the number of times France have won a quarter-final in their six appearances in the competition. Eliminated in the group phase in 1997, 2001 and 2005, the French have now fallen in the last eight at the last three competitions.
Coming up *Semi-finals 3 August 2017 Netherlands-England (FC Twente Stadion, Enschede) Denmark-Austria (Rat Verlegh Stadion, Breda)*