The Netherlands reached the Women’s World Cup semi-finals for the first time thanks to two second-half headers against Italy in Valenciennes.

Vivianne Miedema, the Netherlands’ all-time top scorer, netted her 61st international goal with a glancing header from Sherida Spitse’s free-kick.

And Stefanie van der Gragt powered home another Spitse free-kick to seal their place in the last four.

The an champions will face or Sweden in the semi-final.

That fourth quarter-final kicks off at 17:30 BST. The semi-final will be in Lyon on Wednesday.

Can Dutch go all the way?

The Netherlands are playing at a World Cup finals for only the second time, and went out in the last 16 in 2015.

They were victors at Euro 2017, their home tournament, and they had great support in Valenciennes, which is only a two-hour drive from the Dutch border.

It was an even first half at the Stade du Hainaut but the Netherlands blew Italy away after the break.

They had 15 shots in the second half alone, including Danielle van de Donk’s wonderful curling chip from the edge of the box which hit the bar.

Italy had no answer for them, and Spitse – who had already blasted a long-range free-kick inches wide – was the decisive figure in the end. Her free-kicks were headed home by Miedema and then Van der Gragt in the space of 10 minutes.

She has now set up four goals in the tournament, more than anybody else.

Italy’s brave run comes to an end

Italy were the surprise team of the tournament. This was their first World Cup in 20 years and they topped a group including , and Jamaica before beating China in the last 16.

Captain Sara Gama said in the build-up to the game that they wanted to build a legacy in Italy, adding: “We must give ourselves a timeline to avoid wasting everything we have done and carry on the project.”

Italy gave it a really good go in the first half and Valentina Bergamaschi should have done better with two free shots in the area, but both were saved by Sari van Veenendaal.

They understandably tired in 34C heat in the second half – the women’s game is not fully professional in Italy – and were well beaten in the end.

But boss Milena Bertolini’s pre-match hope of “helping the Italian public discover the women’s game” has surely been achieved.

Line-ups

Italy

  • 1Giuliani
  • 13BartoliSubstituted forBoattinat 45′minutes
  • 3Gama
  • 5LinariBooked at 41mins
  • 7GuagniBooked at 67mins
  • 2BergamaschiSubstituted forSerturiniat 75′minutes
  • 4Galli
  • 23Giugliano
  • 21CernoiaBooked at 73mins
  • 19Giacinti
  • 11BonanseaSubstituted forSabatinoat 55′minutesBooked at 79mins

Substitutes

  • 6Rosucci
  • 8Parisi
  • 9Sabatino
  • 10Girelli
  • 12Marchitelli
  • 14Tarenzi
  • 15Serturini
  • 16Fusetti
  • 17Boattin
  • 18Mauro
  • 20Tucceri Cimini
  • 22Pipitone

Netherlands

  • 1van Veenendaal
  • 2van Lunteren
  • 3van der GragtSubstituted forDekkerat 87′minutes
  • 20Bloodworth
  • 4van Dongen
  • 14Groenen
  • 8Spitse
  • 10van de Donk
  • 7van de SandenSubstituted forBeerensteynat 56′minutes
  • 9MiedemaSubstituted forRoordat 87′minutes
  • 11Martens

Substitutes

  • 5van Es
  • 6Dekker
  • 12Pelova
  • 13Jansen
  • 15Kaagman
  • 16Kop
  • 17Jansen
  • 18Kerkdijk
  • 19Roord
  • 21Beerensteyn
  • 22van der Most
  • 23Geurts
Referee:
Cla Umpiérrez

Match Stats

Home TeamItalyAway TeamNetherlands
Possession
Home37%
Away63%
Shots
Home8
Away20
Shots on Target
Home4
Away9
Corners
Home2
Away2
Fouls
Home13
Away16

Live Text

Match ends, Italy 0, Netherlands 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Italy 0, Netherlands 2.

Attempt blocked. Daniela Sabatino (Italy) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Valentina Cernoia with a cross.

Foul by Daniëlle van de Donk (Netherlands).

Daniela Sabatino (Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Lineth Beerensteyn (Netherlands) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Alia Guagni (Italy).

Foul by Daniëlle van de Donk (Netherlands).

Manuela Giugliano (Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Jill Roord (Netherlands) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Annamaria Serturini (Italy).

Attempt saved. Manuela Giugliano (Italy) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Foul by Anouk Dekker (Netherlands).

Valentina Giacinti (Italy) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Netherlands. Jill Roord replaces Vivianne Miedema.

Substitution

Substitution, Netherlands. Anouk Dekker replaces Stefanie van der Gragt.

Foul by Daniëlle van de Donk (Netherlands).

Valentina Cernoia (Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Lieke Martens (Netherlands) right footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Vivianne Miedema.

Corner, Italy. Conceded by Sari van Veenendaal.

Attempt saved. Daniela Sabatino (Italy) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Aurora Galli.

Foul by Sherida Spitse (Netherlands).

Annamaria Serturini (Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Netherlands. Conceded by Laura Giuliani.

Attempt saved. Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jackie Groenen.

Goal!

Goal! Italy 0, Netherlands 2. Stefanie van der Gragt (Netherlands) header from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Sherida Spitse with a cross following a set piece situation.

Booking

Daniela Sabatino (Italy) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Daniëlle van de Donk (Netherlands) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Daniela Sabatino (Italy).

Attempt missed. Daniëlle van de Donk (Netherlands) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Merel van Dongen with a cross.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match (Netherlands).

Substitution

Substitution, Italy. Annamaria Serturini replaces Valentina Bergamaschi.

Jackie Groenen (Netherlands) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Alia Guagni (Italy).

Booking

Valentina Cernoia (Italy) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Lineth Beerensteyn (Netherlands) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Valentina Cernoia (Italy).

Foul by Desiree van Lunteren (Netherlands).

Valentina Giacinti (Italy) wins a free kick on the left wing.

goal

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