The Netherlands and Switzerland are through to November’s FIFA Women’s World Cup play-off final after seeing off Denmark and Belgium respectively in October’s semis.
The play-offs, involving the four qualifying group runners-up with the best record against the sides first, third and fourth in their sections, will decide the last of Europe’s nine berths (including hosts France) for next summer’s tournament.
Netherlands v Denmark
- First-half goals from Lineth Beerensteyn and Shanice van de Sanden gave the European champions the advantage after the first leg though they hit the woodwork twice.
- Beerensteyn was twice on target in the second leg, her seventh-minute away goal coming just after Nadia Nadim had converted a penalty, and she struck again just before the end. That was enough to ensure the Netherlands saw off the side they beat in the UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 final.
Belgium v Switzerland
- Janice Cayman gave Belgium an early lead in the first leg. Substitute Alisha Lehmann equalised in the 55th minute, the 19-year-old’s first senior international goal, but Laura Deneve made it 2-1 on the hour. However, with three minutes left, West Ham United’s Lehmann struck again.
- Géraldine Reuteler, who played with Lehmann at July’s Women’s U19 EURO in Switzerland, scored 23 minutes into the second leg for what proved an invaluable goal. Tine De Caigny levelled on the night with 13 minutes left but Belgium’s hopes of a first World Cup appearance are over.
Final (two legs, 5–13 November)
Netherlands v Switzerland
- In their last meeting, the Netherlands beat Switzerland 4-3 in The Hague in a March 2016 Olympic qualifier.
- The Netherlands qualified for their first World Cup in 2015 via the play-offs.
- Switzerland lost in the 2011 play-offs but qualified via their group four years later.
- The play-off final will be the last games in charge of Switzerland for Martina Voss-Tecklenberg, who will go on to coach her native Germany. Nils Nielsen, who led Denmark to the UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 final, will take over on 1 December.
Already qualified from UEFA: France (hosts), England, Germany, Norway, Italy, Scotland, Spain, Sweden
Other qualifiers: Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand
Places to be filled:
3 from Africa
1 from Europe
3 from North/Central America
1 from Oceania
1 from play-off between Argentina and 4th-placed North/Central American side
Finals draw: 18:00CET, 8 December, La Seine Musicale, Paris
Finals: 7 June–7 July, France