Netherlands 1 Sweden 0 (after extra time): Groenen strike takes European champions into final

Jackie Groenen's brilliant strike in extra time secured European champions Netherlands a place in the Women's World Cup final thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Sweden on Wednesday.

Neither side managed to find a way through in the regulation 90 minutes despite the woodwork being struck twice, but recent Manchester United addition Groenen finally found the mark to set up a final against the United States on Sunday.

The respective defences generally came out on top in the first half, as neither team particularly captured the imagination when on the front foot, providing a stark contrast to Tuesday's semi-final contest between USA and England.

Proceedings opened up more after the break and both sides were denied by the frame of the goal, but it took until extra time for the decisive goal to arrive, with Groenen producing a fine finish to seal a first ever World Cup final for her side.

Sweden looked the brighter of the two sides in the early stages and carved an opening 13 minutes in, Sofia Jakobsson driving forward and feeding Stina Blackstenius to her right, but the eventual shot was blocked and then smothered by Sari van Veenendaal.

A generally cagey first half produced few other highlights, however, with the next clear-cut chance coming just before the hour, when Nilla Fischer saw her controlled effort tipped onto the post by Van Veenendaal.

Hedvig Lindahl was similarly inspirational at the other end soon after, getting a fingertip to Vivianne Miedema's looping header to nudge it onto the crossbar.

It was little surprise to see the game go to extra time, and Netherlands' superior fitness saw them take control before making the breakthrough – Groenen clinically picking out the bottom-left corner from 25 yards in the 99th minute.

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