It was a very successful weekend for our Reading Women internationals as Jade Moore, Jo Potter and Mandy Van Den Berg all made it through to the European Championships semi-finals!
The Netherlands kicked off the weekend’s quarter-final action in front of another sell-out crowd of 11,106 supporters in Doetinchem against a highly rated Sweden side.
The hosts always looked in control and broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute when Lieke Martens’ clever free kick deceived Chelsea’s Hedvig Lindahl in goal.
Van Den Berg was brought on at half-time to help her defence see out the game and the Dutch doubled their lead after Shanice van de Sanden’s pinpoint pass allowed 21-year old Miedema to finish from close range.
Then on Sunday night, England made history by beating France for the first time in 43 years after an incredibly close quarter-final in Deventer.
The star-studded French, who’s squad contained 10 Champions League winners always carried a threat going forward, with striker Marie-Laure Delie squandering a good opening early on.
It was Arsenal striker Jodie Taylor, though, who broke the deadlock on the hour mark; the 31-year old found the net for an impressive fifth time in the tournament – no other player has scored more than twice!
Moore (who played the full ninety minutes) and England held on in what was a very tense half an hour - and England are now the highest ranked team left in the tournament! The result also meant Mark Sampson became the first England manager since Sir Alf Ramsey in 1968 to reach consecutive semi-finals at major tournaments, having guided his team to third place at the 2015 World Cup.
England and Holland, who are the only sides with a 100% winning record at the tournament, will lock horns on Thursday in what is set to be an unmissable clash in Enschede.
The semi-final could potentially see three Royals go head-to-head, England’s Jade Moore and Jo Potter, against Holland captain Van Den Berg. This ensures that at least one Royal will be involved in the final, against either Austria or Denmark, neither of whom have ever reached the European final before.