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  • Matt Codd

Switzerland vs Netherlands: The Defiant Dutch Close Group C In Style

The group stages of the Women’s Euros 2022 in Sheffield came to a close on July 17th with a battle to qualify for the knockout stages. Prior to kick off, Netherlands sat in second place on four points, while Switzerland aimed to take that spot from them. The pressure was on the Swiss to perform and pip the Dutch to qualification. Not only did Switzerland need to win but they needed to do so by two clear goals to catch the Oranje on goal difference too.

Approaching Bramall Lane in the glorious Sheffield sunshine, you could feel the excitement, and the trepidation. This was tournament football of the highest level, two quality teams with everything to play for.

The game got off to a cautious start, the Swiss tried to apply pressure, but the Dutch repelled most of it relatively easily. The weather will have undoubtedly had an effect on the players and the tempo of the game. It was a scorching 32 degrees on the day, less than 24 hours before record temperatures hit the UK. Switzerland went closest in the first half with midfielder Sandly Maedly’s bending left-foot shot being tipped over the bar by the excellent Daphne Van Domselaar. As the first half ended you could feel the nerves from Swiss fans, and the confidence of the Dutch.

As the teams emerged for the second half, there was a clear feeling among the spectators that something had to give. Thankfully, it did so in the 49th minute as a corner swung in to Stefanie Van der Gragt, whose headed effort could only be helped on its way by the defending Ana-Maria Crnogorčević, a cruel outcome for Switzerland’s all-time appearance maker.

From this point on, the game really opened up, and it made for a real treat. The Swiss answered back in quick fashion with an equaliser from Géraldine Reuteler after an excellent run by talismanic forward Ramona Bachmann. From this point on though, it was The Netherlands who took control.

Having held off Switzerland’s advances for most of the game, the defending champions began to show their class. In the 84th minute, a misjudgement from Swiss keeper Gaëlle Thalmann allowed substitute forward Romée Leuchter to head into an empty net. Wave after wave of Dutch attacks came for the remainder of the game, with fellow substitute Victoria Pelova adding a third just four minutes later, before Leuchter bagged another deep into stoppage time to seal The Netherlands’ quarter final berth.

Sheffield revelled in every minute of the game, healthy sections of both The Netherlands and Switzerland fans contributed to yet another record attendance at Bramall Lane for these Euros. This time capping out at just over 22,500 people, all basking in the glory of seeing possibly their last game of what has been an incredible showcase of international football.

Now, Sheffield turns its attention to hosting one of the semi-finals. An incredible opportunity for the city to break yet another record and support this fantastic tournament. With it comes our Lionesses, venturing up north for the first time to face Sweden for the opportunity to face Germany or France for the trophy, what an atmosphere there is going to be. We’ll be there; will you?


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