The Netherlands are headed to the Women’s World Cup for the first time in history after beating Italy, 3-2 on aggregate in the UEFA qualifying playoff final. Vivianne Miedema scored twice on Thursday to lift the Netherlands past Italy, 2-1 in the second leg in at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi in Verona, Italy.
Miedema scored the lone goal for the Dutch in the 1-1 draw on Saturday in the first leg. On Thursday she scored in the 9th and 43rd minutes. The 18-year-old Dutch forward finishes qualifying as Europe’s top scorer, having found net 16 times in 13 appearances.
Italy have not qualified for the Women’s World Cup since 1999, when they went out in the group stage. Italy made it to the quarterfinals at the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991. This is the second straight World Cup qualification in which Italy lost in a playoff final. The Azzurre missed out on the 2011 World Cup after losing to world No. 1 USA in a home-and-home playoff late in 2010.
Twenty-three of the 24 spots at the 2015 Women’s World Cup are now determined. Trinidad and Tobago or Ecuador will claim the final spot in next year’s World Cup, to be determined on Tuesday in the second leg of their intercontinental playoff. Neither of those teams have ever been to a Women’s World Cup.
The qualified teams are:
UEFA (8): England, France, Germany, Netherlands*, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland*
AFC (5): Australia, China, Japan (holders), South Korea, Thailand*
CAF (3): Cameroon,*, Ivory Coast*, Nigeria
CONCACAF (4): Canada (hosts), Costa Rica*, Mexico, United States
CONMEBOL (2): Brazil, Colombia
CONMBEOL-CONCACAF play-off (1): Ecuador v Trinidad & Tobago (first leg 0-0, return Tuesday in Port of Spain)
OFC (1): New Zealand
The World Cup draw takes place on Dec. 6 at noon ET in Ottawa.
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