The quarter-final in France 2019 is complete, the US except one notable rule. For the first time, the remaining seven of the last eight members came from the same Confederation, with Italy and the Netherlands further strengthening the European contingent.
The recent gains for the old continent have come at the expense of Asia, when Japan – winner 2011, finalist 2015 – and the People’s Republic of China were knocked out of the race. Their conquerors meet in the quarter-finals, and Valenciennes prepares for a Dutch-Italian invasion.
Italy 2-0 China PR
After three defensive performances, we finally saw another, more aggressive version of the Steel Roses. In the second half, four strikers were on the field at the same time, launching a series of attacks from multiple angles.
We watched the press through to the last minute, and it was just the lack of a killer touch that kept them from scoring at least one goal – and perhaps making a comeback. I wonder if Wang Shanshan – the key player in China’s defense – could have played the whole game. Would the result be different? In any case, fans will be grateful that the team has held such a brave fight that shows the true spirit of Steel Roses.
Netherlands 2-1 Japan
It was another blast for the Oranjeleeuwinnen, but the joy is not less for the nervousness with which they have won this late victory against Japan. The Dutch started strongly and earned the lead through Lieke Martens’ excellent flicking.
But Japan had come to grips with the game before half-time and then dominated the second-third before Martens’ decisive penalty. There will be a lot to discuss and discuss for the Netherlands, but at the moment only one thing is important: they are in the quarter-finals.
This was a fearless performance by Japan, especially in the second half, when they played excellent football. The Nadeshiko ended the game with seven players starting in their first Senior World Championship and still dominating.
But football matches are decided by the team that scores the most goals, and despite the attractive football it has produced, this Japanese team could not beat the stubborn Dutchman. The journey of Nadeshiko in France ends here.