Women's World Cup 2019: Late penalty sends Netherlands past Japan

By Jamie Smith 26 June 2019 3443
Women's World Cup 2019: Late penalty sends Netherlands past Japan

The Netherlands booked a place in the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup thanks to a harsh late penalty converted by Lieke Martens that earned a 2-1 victory over Japan.

Japan knocked the Dutch out at this stage four years ago en route to a final defeat against the United States, but Martens struck twice in Rennes on Tuesday to earn revenge.

The Netherlands led through Martens' stunning goal in the 17th minute but Japan hit back through Yui Hasegawa and created a string of fine chances in the second half.

It was Martens who scored the decisive goal in the last minute, though, converting a penalty given for a handball against Saki Kumagai, who blocked an on-target effort from Vivianne Miedema.

The Netherlands almost opened the scoring in the fifth minute, Aya Sameshima making an excellent block to deny Miedema, but the European champions soon took the lead.

Sherida Spitse drilled in a low corner from the left wing and Martens flicked a superb backheeled finish through the legs of Yuika Sugasawa to beat goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita.

Japan almost hit back immediately, though, as Sugasawa did brilliantly to get into the Netherlands box but hit the outside of the post with her low shot.

They did equalize before the break, Mana Iwabuchi slipping a clever throughball into the path of Hasegawa, who beat the offside trap before finishing well.

Emi Nakajima tested Sari Van Veenendaal with a dipping long-range strike after the interval, Hasegawa then drilling narrowly wide as Japan continued to press.

Hina Sugita hit the crossbar with a rocket of a drive in the closing stages before Van Veenendaal made a great save to deny substitute Yuka Momiki and seemingly take the game to extra time.

But referee Melissa Borjas pointed to the spot to harshly punish Kumagai, with Martens making no mistake from the spot to set up a clash with Italy.

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