The 2013 women’s Euro quarterfinals came to a riveting end today, with Sweden, Germany, Norway and Denmark advancing to the semi finals July 24-25 in Sweden.
After England was knocked out in-group play, it was evident that anything could happen in quarterfinals- and that was exactly the case. Sweden had a glorious finish against Iceland as they continue to peak more and more each game. Reigning champs Germany continues to hold on despite missing key players due to injury and Norway continues to stay on top with a comfortable 3-1 win against Spain. But, the biggest surprise came from Denmark, who upset favourite’s France in penalty shoot out to snag a spot in the semi’s. The surprise- they have advanced having not won a single game yet!
Sweden Sweeps Iceland 4-0 in Quarterfinals
The Swedes had a major confidence boost after their clean sweep victory against Iceland in Halmstad on Sunday, and will move forward to play Germany for a spot in the final.
They put on an impeccable performance with growing momentum that was evident throughout the tournament. The sold out crowd was electrified from the moment midfielder Marie Hammarstrom opened scoring just three minutes in. Forward Josefine Oqvist boosted the lead minutes later and star striker Lotta Schelin battered the scoreboard with a brace.
Hammarstrom didn’t waste any time, cracking a left footed shot past Iceland goalkeeper Gudbjorg Gunnarsdottir for the early lead. Then, in the 14th minute, Iceland was confronted with more pressure as Oqvist extended that fresh lead 2-0 with Schelin on the assist.
Schelin kissed the first half good bye with yet another goal just five minutes after she assisted on the second. Forward Kosovare Asllani sprinted in past defense and crossed to Schelin near the front post. She blasted the ball in to broaden the ever-growing Swedish lead 3-0.
But, the Olympique Lyonnais player wasn’t finished yet. She kicked off the second half with a bang, scoring the final Swedish goal in the 59th minute. Iceland tried their best to at least get on the board, and forward Fanndis Fridriksdottir came close to scoring in the first half, but to no avail.
Laudehr’s Lone Goal Lifts Germany to Glory Against Italy
The Germans are headed to the semis with Sweden after a coveted 1-0 win against Italy on Sunday bolstered spirits following an upsetting loss to Norway in group play last week.
The reigning champs held on till the end with a single first half goal scored by forward Simone Laudehr. It was a hard earned goal scored amidst a scramble in front of the Italian net. Laudehr collected the ball off a Celia Okoyino da Mbabi header and aimed a powerful shot towards the goal. The ball found its target through the scrappy crowd to give Germany the lead, and ultimately the win, as no other goals were scored through the remainder.
Norway Edges out Spain 3-1 to Advance
After coming out at the top of Group B play, Norway proved that the winning would continue, finishing Spain off 3-1 today to advance to the semis.
Though Spain kept possession right off the bat, Norway proved to be quite dangerous with the few chances they created. Midfielder Solveig Gulbrandsen opened scoring 24 minutes in after firing a shot passed the crowd and into the far corner of the net. To Spain’s dismay, that lead doubled before the end of the first half with an own goal scored by Spain’s Irene Paredes.
It looked like luck was on Norway’s side as the second half got underway. Defender Ada Hegerberg added the winner in the 64th minute, bending in a shot that careened off the left post and into the net passed a diving Ainhoa Tirapu. The game belonged to Norway, and they kept Spain off their back for the majority of the second half. Midfielder Jennifer Hermoso got Spain on the board in stoppage time to add some cheer to an otherwise disheartening game for her team.
Determined Denmark Upsets Powerhouse France in Penalty Kicks
Underdog Denmark takes the quarterfinals win over France today in one of the closest matches in the 2013 Euro so far. After carrying a 1-1 draw through regulation and two overtime periods, penalty shots were administered with Denmark advancing 4-2.
They made their presence known in the first half, creating more chances to score than France, and though they were not able to capitalize, the Danes looked like the better team- strong and tactical from the start.
Their perseverance paid off, and former WPS forward Johanna Rasmussen broke through in the 13th minute, stunning the French with an early lead.
That opening goal was like a blast of cold air, and the French picked up the pace after that, antsy for a chance to equalize. They would have to wait for the second half, as the whistle blew for halftime with the Danish leading 1-0.
As the second half got underway, the French played aggressively, anxious to find the back of the net. They dominated from the start applying as much pressure on the Danish back line as possible, but the opposition held firm, just as determined to keep their lead.
But the equalizer did come, off a penalty kick in the 71st minute. It was déjà vu for Danish keeper Stina Peterson, who was in the same position with Sweden earlier in the tournament and made two impressive penalty saves.
She sat face to face with playmaker Louisa Necib, who prepared to take the vital shot. She blasted the ball and Peterson dove, and though she got both hands on the ball, it was just too powerful and bounced into the net.
It wasn’t long until the final whistle blasted, and with a 1-1 score, overtime commenced. Both teams kept a firm grip with France dominating play and outshooting their opponents by 16-2 . They rained shots upon the opposition, but the Danes stood resilient, blocking and booting away any chances. No one would score through two overtime periods, and a penalty shoot out would determine who would clinch the coveted semi final spot.
Denmark came through, beating out France 4-2 with Janni Arnth netting the winner.