The Netherlands defeated Switzerland 3-0 in the first leg of the FIFA Women’s World Cup play-off final on Friday, with Tuesday’s return deciding Europe’s last space in the finals.
The play-offs, involving the four qualifying group runners-up with the best record against the sides first, third and fourth in their sections, started in October with the Netherlands beating Denmark and Switzerland seeing off Belgium. The qualifiers will join hosts France, England, Germany, Norway, Italy, Scotland, Spain and Sweden plus 15 other qualifiers in the 8 December draw.
Final: Netherlands v Switzerland
- After the home side dominated the first half of the opening leg but could not break the deadlock, Sherida Spitse gave the Netherlands the lead early in the second period with a free-kick.
- Lieke Martens doubled the Dutch lead in the 71st minute after being set up by Shanice van de Sanden, and Vivianne Miedema then made it three.
- The first leg was watched by a capacity crowd of 23,750, a record for any European women’s play-off, the tickets sold in less than 30 minutes.
- Switzerland were missing injured Lara Dickenmann and suspended Ramona Bachmann, though the Chelsea forward is eligible for the second leg.
- The second leg will be the last game 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.
- 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.
- Switzerland played two qualifiers in this campaign at Schaffhausen, beating Belarus 3-0 and Scotland 1-0
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.
Already qualified from UEFA: France (hosts), England, Germany, Norway, Italy, Scotland, Spain, Sweden
Other qualifiers: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, United States (holders)
Places to be filled:
3 from Africa
1 from European play-off between the Netherlands and Switzerland
1 from Oceania
1 from play-off between Argentina and Panama
Finals draw: 18:00CET, 8 December, La Seine Musicale, Paris
Finals: 7 June–7 July, France