Netherlands and Sweden out to seal quarter-final spots

Switzerland and Portugal still harbour dreams of upsetting the formbook

By Press Association Published: 17 July 2022 - 3.30am

The Netherlands and Sweden will be out to book their places in the quarter-finals of Euro 2022 when Group C concludes on Sunday.

Switzerland and Portugal, though, still harbour dreams of upsetting the odds and making it out of what has proved a tight qualification battle.

Here, the PA news agency looks ahead to Sunday’s action after Spain booked a quarter-final showdown with England and Germany finished off their group campaign with another impressive win.

Slim hopes for Swiss

Switzerland head coach Nils Nielsen gestures on the touchline
Switzerland head coach Nils Nielsen knows it is all or nothing for his side (Danny Lawson/PA)

Switzerland face a tall order as they aim to get the better of the Netherlands at Bramall Lane and reach the quarter-finals.

Nils Nielsen’s side sit bottom of the table ahead of their last Group C fixture.

Only an unexpected win – which would be a first against the Dutch for almost 20 years – and the Sweden-Portugal result also going their way would send Switzerland into the last eight.

“The Netherlands don’t have to win the game. We have to win, so of course we need to take the initiative,” Nielsen said. “We know everything needs to be perfect, then we have a chance.”

Oranje out to keep things simple

Netherlands head coach Mark Parsons gestures on the touchline
Mark Parsons does not want his Netherlands squad to overthink their situation (Danny Lawson/PA)

While the odds may seem stacked against Switzerland, the defending champions – who beat Portugal 3-2 thanks to a fine strike from Danielle Van De Donk – only need to avoid defeat to progress.

Oranje coach Mark Parsons could again be without Arsenal forward Vivianne Miedema, who missed the Portugal game because of Covid-19.

Manchester United midfielder Jackie Groenen, though, should be involved following her recovery after a positive test.

Parsons saw his side squander a 2-0 lead against Portugal before Van De Donk’s second-half winner but is determined not to focus on anything other than the job in hand.

“You can overthink stuff. For us it comes back to trying win a game of football,” the Netherlands coach said. “We know who we are, and what our strengths are.”

Portugal dream of climbing the mountain

With things still very much up for grabs in what has turned out to be the tightest of groups, both Sweden and Portugal also have hopes of qualification still alive.

The Swedes, ranked second in the world, only need to draw, while Portugal have to win and hope the Dutch avoid defeat.

“Players dream on being competitive and enjoying all this, but we know that it will be a huge mountain to climb,” Portugal coach Francisco Neto said.

“We have the courage and ambition to scale it and they dream of reaching the top of that hill.”

Despite being favourites, Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson accepts his side have to step things up.

“We have a little bit of work to do in the attack,” he said on UEFA.com.

Spain set up England showdown

The prize of a quarter-final place against the tournament hosts was on the line when Spain faced Denmark at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday night.

A point would have been enough for Spain to secure the runners-up spot in Group B, but, with the match still goalless heading into the closing stages, qualification remained up for grabs.

Marta Cardona, though, settled matters with a looping header in the last minute to spark wild celebrations on the bench and from the healthy showing of Spain supporters in the stands.

After a 4-0 thrashing by Germany in their opening match, Denmark had kept hopes of qualification alive by beating Finland.

There was, however, no fairytale ending, with Denmark left to reflect on what might have been had Nadia Nadim’s goalbound effort not been palmed away by Spain goalkeeper Sandra Panos with 15 minutes left.

Germans produce another masterclass

Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side had already impressed in their opening two group matches, which secured them top spot and a quarter-final place against Austria.

Opponents Finland had only pride left to play for in Milton Keynes, their exit having been confirmed following successive defeats.

The result never looked in doubt, with Sophia Kleinherne nodding Germany in front before Alexandra Popp grabbed her third goal of the tournament with a header early in the second half and substitute Nicole Anyomi also got on the scoresheet.

Germany, the eight-time European champions, have now chalked up nine goals in their three victories and are yet to concede.

Stat of the day

3
Alexandra Popp - who missed out on the last two Euros tournaments through injury - has now scored in each of Germany's three matches so far.

Picture of the day

Spain’s Marta Cardona celebrates after scoring against Denmark
Marta Cardona’s late header secured Spain a place in the quarter-finals against hosts England (John Walton/PA)

Quote of the day

“They are the host nation and have the fans behind them, but that motivates us. We are a team that likes a challenge.”
- Spain coach Jorge Vilda on the prospect of facing England

Up next

July 17

Group C: Sweden v Portugal (5pm, Leigh)
Group C: Switzerland v Netherlands (5pm, Bramall Lane)

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